Zafferana Etnea (CT)
The concept behind the project for the Esperia Palace is to create tourist accommodation facilities hotel on steep terraces which face South-East and enjoy a view of the sea and of Mount Etna.
The layout was almost dictated by the elevations and the geomorphological situation of the land. A composition of buildings on 2 floors with a low impact, lying on the terraces and laid out at right angles at various heights around a square courtyard which takes on the role of panoramic piazza. The solution to the problem of fitting the buildings into their surroundings was found by underlining the relationship between the nature of the terrain, sometimes enhancing the link with enormous low level walls in lava stone, other times emphasizing the height, to create an impression that it is floating above the ground, using wide arcades or overhangs supported on columns. The composition is based on the contrast between pure elementary geometric shapes with a tactile use of materials and the contrast of strong primary colours. The main entrance has a cantilevered roof which is the main feature of the façade and brings together the internal space of the reception which seems expand towards the outside welcome area.
One feature which has conditioned this project is the conference hall which is expected to have room for 600 guests. It lies beneath the large square or courtyard and is envisaged in architectural terms as a large empty space of double volume, dominated by a ceiling which holds above it, a pool of water with a transparent crystalline bottom that lets the light filter through mitigating the greenhouse effect.
Special attention was paid to the French windows both in terms of orientation and view, so that all the guest rooms face towards the sea with a wide continual balcony which runs horizontally along the façade of the individual sections of the building.
The need to merge the landscape and the built environment finds its expression in the landscaping of the external areas in terraces and pathways.