Design concept: Monastero Arx Vivendi, Arco, Italy
Monastero Arx Vivendi (imagery: © Alex Filz)
Our latest TOPHOTELDESIGN exclusive looks at an ambitious project by noa* to convert a 17th-century monastery into a hotel, complete with a world-class wellness area.
An old monastic centre in northern Italy has been given a new lease of life following a sensitive restoration.
Transforming a heritage asset
Monastery Serve di Maria Addolorata in Arco at the northern tip of Lake Garda underwent a remarkable transformation in late 2020 / early 2021, becoming a one-of-a-kind hotel while retaining the original character of the site. The project’s architecture and interior design was spearheaded by Italian studio noa*.
A high wall surrounds this complex and extensive garden, with half of the monastery building, home to a church and cloister, remaining untouched. In collaboration with the Trento Office of Cultural Heritage, noa* set about renovating and converting the monastery into a hotel, and creating a new wellness area.
Original features like vaulted ceilings have been retained throughout the hotel, which incorporates a reception, lobby, breakfast room, bar area, kitchen and 40 guestrooms, including two suites. Meanwhile, located within the site’s lush garden, the newly developed wellness area comprises 500 sq m of relaxation rooms, treatment rooms, saunas and a hammam.
Honouring the site’s past
Every detail across the hotel draws on the identity of the original building. The scheme retains and extends the original design of the internal paths, for example, paying attention to suitable colours, materials and artisanal furnishings.
The agricultural landscape then provides the inspiration for the architecture of the light glass constructions housing the new wellness area, highlighting the relationship between the site and the land.
The hotel’s common areas also emphasise the original plan of the monastery, with the reception, breakfast room and lounge all located across the building’s central axis.
Moreover, a long corridor with beamed ceilings on the first floor leads visitors to the guestrooms, which each take up two of the original monastic cells, with original details like the old doors remaining in place. Additional guestrooms occupy the second-floor loft area, topped with trusses and now featuring a long skylight.
Last but not least, the wellness area consists of seven glass and metal volumes, alternating with green courtyards, along a connecting stone spine composed of pillars.
For more info about this scheme, and to view an extensive gallery of hi-res images, check out Monastero Arx Vivendi’s project page on the TOPHOTELDESIGN website.
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