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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Architect & hotelier: Karl Heinz Castlunger’s green design Mi Chalet

His buildings are a tribute to his native country and the perfect example of sustainable design: we are talking about Dr. Karl Heinz Castlunger, successful architect and hotelier from La Villa in South Tirol. Already as a small boy he did drawings, handicraft and loved building and as a youngster worked in his father’s joinery. His architectural studies in Innsbruck combined his youthful passion, technical education as well as the visions of his own work. With his newest work “Mi chalet” Karl Heinz once more positioned himself as a visionary design architect for sustainable architecture.

Stone by stone

Karl Heinz inherited the love for architecture, hospitality and nature. Already in the early 1960s years his parents built the first apartment house in La villa using stones from the nearby river Gader. Besides he was also influenced by the Ladin culture and the peaceful childhood he spent in the untouched nature of the UNESCO world cultural heritage South Tyrolean Dolomites. After he finished his studies he headed to Venice in search of architectural inspiration, where he concluded his doctoral thesis about Ladin architecture. In 2002 he opened his own architect’s office “L’Atelier” specializing in traditional timber-frame construction. One year later he built together with his cousin the first summer cottage “Les Viles” on the property of the family-owned Dolomit Boutique Hotel.

The architecture of an untouched scenery

The Ladin architecture is a mirror of the region: it is marked by natural and local materials, especially wood. For Karl Heinz the use of regional materials as a contribution to sustainability was not enough. Hence, for his summer cottages the Dolomit Homes he used old wood. Nevertheless, one of his works excels all his concepts in terms of sustainability: Mi Chalet. Since the completion of the design chalet in 2019 energetic efficiency and the deliberate application of natural materials minimize the impact on nature and is a model for energy-conscious architecture.

Mi Chalet: Ladin tradition meets modern design

The unique facade of the design chalet veils a masterpiece of sustainable and close to nature construction methods. For Karl Heinz Castlunger the focus was the achievement of the highest climate house standard. The house is insulated with wooden fibers, the plaster is made of clay and straw providing a pleasant interior climate in the dining room, and regulating the humidity and odors. The aim of Mr. Castlunger was to reach the highest KlimaHaus Standard and fulfil all requirements for the “Mi Chalet”. A KlimaHaus A has a calculated heating energy requirement of less than 30 kilowatt hours per square meter of living space per year and extremely low carbon dioxide emissions. The wooden building uses two different types of local wood, including the weather resistant larch for the exterior shingles and the spruce for any interior works. A thick insulation of wood fiber creates a compact envelope, perforated mainly towards south-west – allowing a significant heat gain in winter through the tripled glazed windows with a U-value of 0,5 determined to catch a maximum in solar strength in winter. The energy for the efficient floor heating is sourced from the wooden pellet plant of the Dolomit Homes & Hotel and supports the low heating power demand of a climate house Type A. Besides, Solar-Panels provide Mi Chalet and the other summer cottages of the Dolomit Homes & Hotel with hot water and avoid high CO2 issues.

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