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Copper Awards: Shortlist

Alpine Recovery Centre South Tyrol, Italy by AllesWirdGut Architektur

With this infrastructure building, its architects have developed a copper-clad aesthetic that reflects a mountainous context, without overpowering its village location. The new building forms a major landmark but maintains a low-key presence at the same time. The volume appears firmly rooted to the ground and surrounding landscape but still retains an air of lightness. Responding to its position at the entrance to the village tight up against the main road, the building also acknowledges the smaller scale buildings in the nearby area by effectively representing a multiple of them.

The reduction in mass is achieved by exploiting the topography and cutting into the sloping site. Daylighting the building’s lower levels might seem a challenge in these circumstances but the design turns it into an opportunity with roof-lighting to the main circulation spine and spectacularly high ceilings. Lightwells are also used for below ground rooms cut into the slope, introducing intimate external spaces. Apart from the glazing, the entire volume is clad in copper, giving a natural, earthy hue and lively surface that harmonises with the surrounding old farmhouses and pine forests. The building becomes a timeless, organic, integral part of its environment.

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