Hotel Pirovano

Place: Valtournenche (AO), Breuil, Cervinia

Authors: Franco Albini, Luigi Colombini

Chronology: 1948 | 1952

Itinerary: Italy goes on vacation

Use: Refuges


The Pirovano hostel is a clear example of modern Italian architecture’s ability to combine the themes of modernity with those of traditional architecture, in this case the construction techniques and materials typical of Valle d’Aosta. The building, situated on a steep slope, consists of two parts: the lower one has three floors, leaning against the mountain and partially underground; the upper, completely above ground, consists of a floor and an attic. The upper part houses the bedrooms, situated in the third floor and in the attic.

The base block’s side walls are of stone masonry; the containment structures are in reinforced concrete. The upper part employs the blockbau construction technique, typical of the rascards in Val d’Aosta. The plant is structured on the repetition of a base cell composed of a couple of bedrooms, separated in the middle by stairs and services. The structural distinction between the two parts is reiterated by the functional one: the base part houses, in addition to the ground floor shops, the entrance, the kitchen and the staff rooms on the first floor; the restaurant and the common living room are located on the second floor, illuminated by a ribbon window that runs along the entire building perimeter.

The front is characterized by four conical masonry pillars, placed on a non-bearing wall covered with vertical wooden boards. They are surmounted by wooden “mushrooms” and stone capitals that support the wooden beams of the balcony surrounding the third floor.

The truncated conical pillars separate three bays occupied by wooden doors that open onto back rooms, used as shops. The project involved the construction of five spans, but only three were built.

Text Gianpaola Spirito
Photos by Emanuele Piccardo, Roberto Dini