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Tradition-conscious into the future

A listed Art Nouveau villa in the Bavarian Alpine town of Bad Reichenhall has undergone a comprehensive makeover. Berschneider und Berschneider Architekten, from Pilsach near Neumarkt in the Upper Palatinate, managed to transform a simple spa hotel into an elegant boutique hotel by completely refurbishing and redesigning the entire entrance and interior areas. A generational change in the hotelier family was the reason for the modernisation. The aim was to create a contemporary appearance that preserves the classic Wilhelminian charm and honours the history of the villa.

The Art Nouveau villa with corner oriel turrets, elaborate plaster structures with cornices and boss profiles, tail-gable risalit, mansard roof and forged Art Nouveau balconies was built in 1898 by master slater Fritz Ackermann in a historicising style as an accommodation facility. The biggest intervention in the fabric of the building was the change to the room sizes facing the inner courtyard: six double rooms were to be created from the existing eight single rooms. This was necessary in order to maintain the economic viability of the family business. The remaining eight double rooms could be retained thanks to the spacious floor plans.

The vestibule in front of the main entrance from the 1970s was dismantled and replaced with a filigree steel and glass element. As part of the refurbishment, the modern smooth plaster in the interior of the porch was removed and the original plaster underneath was uncovered and supplemented with louvres, pilaster strips and cornices.

The bridge between Art Nouveau and modernity is achieved through deliberate contrasts. In the entrance area, the original, richly decorated staircase welcomes guests, while the new brass reception desk brings us back to the present. In the corridors, the built-in wardrobes and hotel room doors from the Wilhelminian era have been retained, while sophisticated lighting sets the scene for the fixtures.



New wooden windows with original wooden weatherboards and a second structural sealing layer were customised for the entire hotel in accordance with the specifications of the heritage office. The windows contribute significantly to the high-quality appearance of the villa. A major challenge was to implement the current fire protection measures in the existing building.

Natural textiles such as cotton, velvet and silk in mid-blue, stone grey and white dominate the 14 double rooms. Brushed surfaces are used sparingly to contrast the fabrics. In the airy breakfast area, herringbone parquet flooring, restored original furnishings, wall panelling and segmental arches create a classic ambience, while rustic old wood panelling lends cosiness to the fireplace lounge in the annex. A panoramic seating window draws the eye towards the Bavarian Alps.

The historical church painting was integrated and implemented in the colour concept of the villa.
Environmentally friendly, diffusion-open silicate paints were used. The use of Le Corbusier’s colour system is worth mentioning. Colours were chosen from a colour palette from 1931.
The colours were specially mixed on the basis of this. The colours were applied with a brush using an old technique.

Architect Johannes Berschneider (BDA) won the Bavarian Architecture Prize in 2018.
Thanks also to Berschneider Managing Director Christian Rein for the excellent cooperation in planning and realisation.