The Tourist Information Office of Bressanone in the Italian province of South Tyrol provides a contemporary contrast to its historic surroundings. Dubbed as the “TreeHugger” by locally based practice MoDus Architects, the project is a dynamic concrete building designed with sinuous curves, sharp corners, and a large overhang that cantilevers out toward the new public square. But perhaps the building's most defining feature is the way it wraps around an existing tree in the heart of the project.
Completed in September 2019, the project was the winning design of a 2016 international competition.
The body of the building is lifted to free up the ground level that can be used as public space by the city. According to the architects, the design complements surrounding buildings like the adjacent Bishop's Palace, or the way the visual and tactile qualities of the building's bush-hammered concrete complements the rough bark of the tree.
“With the tree trunk as the fulcrum, five arched spans release the building from the ground, accompanying the tree upwards to draw an open frame around the tree’s crown,” MoDusArchitects explains.
The ground floor includes public spaces and info booths “to allow maximum transparency and permeability”, while the administrative offices in the upper floor are more concealed within the building. The entrance is marked by inset windows.
“In order to achieve the seamless, vertical surface of the outer concrete shell, the full height of the walls was cast from one flow and in successive sections to form a continuous 9-metre-high ring, within which the concrete plates were then poured. The curvature of the walls, together with the floor slabs form a collaborative composition in which the form, the structure and the building facades become one.”
Find project drawings in the gallery below.
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