Dolomites Watch Towers | Ecclesiastical architecture and more: Messner Architects
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Ecclesiastical architecture and more: Messner Architects

Founded by brother and sister team David and Verena, Messner Architects is located in Bolzano, South Tyrol in northern Italy. Working in their father’s workshop the sibling duo have cultivated a precise collective which works with a high standard of materials on a wide range of architectural projects from functional to residential, landscape remodelling to heritage restorations.

With a keen eye to work with the existing environment, Messner describe the importance of “the delicate relationship of built and grown” whether that be nature, man-made or geological, Messner seek to bind the dialogue between architecture, landscape, art and design.

A project that caught our eye, conveniently located near The Aficionados member hotel, noble 12th century castle Schloss Freudenstein, is the church of Saint Michael in Appiano, Bolzano. Originally built in 1640 as a Capuchin monastic church, an annex was added in the 70s and Messner’s brief was to bridge the heritage building with the 70s additions. Messner approached this by creating a new sanctuary space which connects the two. Within this, liturgical objects formed of smooth, black basalt rock, designed by Artist Franz Messner create the drama of religious intensity whilst allowing space for iconography of saints, all set to the calm presence of the pale limestone floor. The reconfiguration of the sanctuary opens up the church to a clean, contemporary feel, a place of worship for modern times, whilst not forgetting the heritage markers and religious notation.

Other notable Messner projects that have piqued our interest is the residential Casa Luis in Klobenstein, Ritten which hits the sweet spot between seclusion and panoramic views with its sharp modern structure, filled with light.

We love the way in which the arched windows of Zentral café in Klobenstein, Renon, were expanded to let in more light and create a curved design and interior plus a fluidity between looking in and looking out.

Lastly, showing the diversity of its portfolio, Messner designed a series of lookouts within the World Heritages Site Dolomiti UNESCO, a project perhaps that really encapsulates Messner’s design relationship between nature and the construct. Setting into the ground the viewing platform appears to float above the ground, blurring the lines beautifully.

Ecclesiastical architecture and more: Messner Architects Architect Verena Messner | Ecclesiastical architecture and more: Messner Architects
Architect David Messner | Ecclesiastical architecture and more: Messner Architects Ecclesiastical architecture and more: Messner Architects

Discover South Tyrol with our 25 fabulous hotels - From its perch in northern Italy, South Tyrol, or Alto Adige as it is also known, is a jewel of ancient cultures set in the mighty crown of the Alps. Nestled among the Dolomite mountains (a UNESCO World Heritage site) a marriage of languages and cultures comes together in the area’s healing spa towns, medieval hamlets, fairytale castles, wine trails and foodie destinations.

Known primarily for skiing, South Tyrol is also a year-round home to hiking, mountain biking and strolling through the botanical gardens at the base of its snow-capped mountains. At the end of the day, cap it all off with a signature hay bath or a dip in the healing thermal waters. This hidden Alpine part of Italy is well worth travelling to.

This is the South Tyrol where Austria snugs up to Italy. 


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