Subscribe to our newsletter and benefit from our latest offers. >>

Design & Architecture

The architecture of the circle, OLM Nature Escape

It looks a bit like a spaceship that has landed here in the picturesque South Tyrolean landscape. The OLM Nature Escape is definitely a building with a recognisable character. How did it come about to plan a round building, what challenges are associated with the 360° angle and why is the shape also a symbol of sustainability? We spoke to architect Andreas Gruber about his first hospitality project, which has been thoroughly thought through!

The OLM is a modern mountain pasture – what exactly does that mean?

Olm is derived from Alm and refers to the special natural landscape. The hotel was designed as a circular, iconic shape that has a strong recognition value and blends in with the South Tyrolean landscape. The interior is characterised by natural materials. Generous glass façades merge the interior and exterior spaces. The OLM combines tradition with contemporary standards of design, function and experience.

You don’t normally plan hotels, this was your first hospitality assignment – how did you approach the project?

Our office is very happy to take on special challenges. As a matter of principle, we put together a team for each construction task, which can be quite interdisciplinary. This allows us to develop solutions that go beyond the imaginary. I would like to emphasise Thomas Steiner, who has been involved from the very beginning as a hotel expert and source of inspiration.

Constructing a round building is not an everyday occurrence, how did the idea come about?

The idea of creating a round building arose from the combination of many parameters. A respectful attitude towards the landscape was always at the forefront. The inspiration was an old millstone that once stood on this site.

Many buildings have right angles – what do you need to consider when planning a building that has a 360° angle in its basic shape?

Planning requires many competences. This includes good co-operation between the team members. In addition, all static structures were moved inside because the OLM Nature Escape has generous glass fronts. Another challenge was the efficient utilisation of space while taking the manager’s wishes into account.

Regionality was an important topic when it came to building materials – what materials are availlable in South Tyrol?

South Tyrol’s buildings in a rural context are predominantly characterised by a natural choice of materials from the surrounding area, and the OLM Nature Escape is no exception. Stone, natural plasters and untreated wood were used here.

The circle also symbolises the cycle of nature – how sustainable is the building?

We have constructed an energy-efficient, self-sufficient building that is powered by geothermal and solar energy. Water management through water-efficient fittings, grey water recycling and rainwater harvesting systems were also important to us. The use of local and recyclable materials, such as larch wood or mineral surfaces, is another important element.

Olm also means everlasting. The building was also built for eternity. What will it look like here in 100 years?

The design is undoubtedly a timeless statement for innovative hotel architecture. Historically, simple forms and structures reduced to their function have proved their worth in architecture. We are convinced that this building will last for generations.

The building includes a wild garden with a pool. How did you link the outdoor areas with the indoor areas?

The circular shape and generous glass surfaces allow the interior and exterior spaces to merge together. The targeted views of the landscape turn the walk through the building into an experience. The central green inner courtyard with its natural bathing pond and swimming pool is one of the accents that lend the courtyard a special atmosphere.

The OLM is somewhat reminiscent of a spaceship that has landed in the middle of the landscape. How was the project received by the local community?

It is well known that large-scale buildings are always subject to debate. In the case of the OLM Nature Escape, we can be measured by the result, as we were able to realise a high-quality project that is unique from an architectural and landscape perspective.

OLM Nature Escape is a member of Lifestylehotels

photocredits: Hannes Niederkofler; Manuel Kottersteger

to the hotel
Sand in Taufers, Italy


Subscribe our Newsletter and receive our weekly update


Subscribe and benefit from up to -70% discount on exclusive stays in Lifestylehotels.

Click below and we will send you an email with a link to confirm your registration and your constent to receiving our newsletter. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.