HABITAT STUDIO - A widespread hotel next to Vincenzo Bellini Opera Theatre, Catania
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A widespread hotel next to Vincenzo Bellini Opera Theatre, Catania


Hospitality  /  Completed
The hotel is located inside a 1800 century building in one of the most lively city of Sicily, which is downtown Catania.
The main scenario from the majority of the rooms is in fact the Vincenzo Bellini Opera Theatre with its beautiful piazza.
The idea was then to maintain the old building, renovating parts of it when necessary, and approaching the new project giving value to materials and spaces.

- Morphology of the building -
The main building, facing Via Teatro Massimo on the north side and the courtyard on the south one, consists of a ground floor and three elevations above ground. The floor to floor high is about 4.50 meters and is characterized along all floors by stucco vaults decorated with plaster high-reliefs; between the third and fourth floor instead, there are no vaults but an attic, probably built in a more recent period.
The building original construction technique consists of brick courses and ashlars of lava stone joined with a sand-based binder.
Two lower volumes branch off from the main volume and develop around the internal courtyard; one to the west with an elevation above the ground floor and the other to the east which consists of a single floor of 6.50 meters and a flat roof; at the end, the unit 20 is inserted as a single space of about 6.50 meters high and hip roofs.

In the unit 22 at the main building, the structure between third and fourth floor has been maintained and the existing floors consolidated with steel beams consisting of two paired C profiles. In unit 20, the structural intervention involved the construction of three steel framed structures independent from the envelope building, with deck made of corrugated metal sheet and concrete. In the other units, however, it was not necessary to intervene structurally as the building envelope was in a good state of conservation.

-Building Envelope-
The roof was subject to extraordinary maintenance; the ridge beams have been replaced with laminated wood elements, together with the secondary beams and a continuous planking of 25 mm thick. The thermal-acoustic insulation of the roof has been made using an under-tile system consisting of a modular, load-bearing and insulating monolithic structural panel, made of rigid closed-cell polyurethane foam. The finishing roof tiles are the original ones, and during the maintenance work they have been carefully cleaned and repositioned.
The internal walls on the fourth floor attic and inside the unit 20 have been made with the 170mm thick Knauff system. Both sides of the galvanized steel frame has been made with a double layer of coated gypsum board and a double layer of 50mm mineral wool in between. The internal claddings of the existing perimetral walls were also made with the same technique as the partition walls.
All the original windows have been replaced with new windows faithfully reproduced by local craftsmen in Okumè wood and they are all certified in terms of resistance, air permeability, acoustic insulation and transmittance.
On the fourth floor attic, electric velux windows in wood, laminated glass and thermal break profile were installed to implement the insulating performance and they are also all equipped with a electric blind device.

-Equipment System-
The work on the equipment systems was considerable as the building did not have any installation except for the electrical part, however obsolete and not in accordance with law requirements. Inspectionable equipment shafts have been created inside the new ceilings of corridors, inside which all the newly installed plant parts have been arranged.
The heating and cooling air system was made with Mitsubishi technology, consisting of: outdoor unit installed on the roof, indoor units, copper pipes for the passage of refrigerant fluid, control and management system. The latter has been integrated with a building automation system, which allows to manage in real time the entire system daily from a remote locations. Therefore it is possible to create accesses, to check the status of the rooms in terms of air conditioning, lighting and attendance.
For the lighting part, different light effects have been studied. Electrified tracks with spot led lighting were installed, while strip led were used to create diffused light effect; all rooms have been equipped with floor lamps, table and bedside lamps, all rigorously with led bulbs.

- Stylistic choices -
Inside the rooms, the walls are solid white while the furniture elements in oak wood are geometrically simple also to facilitate a rapid assembly, entirely made by the architects.
Large Format ceramic plates have been applied as coating of shelves in the bedrooms and bathrooms, vertically for the coverings of the shower walls and as steps of the staircase.
The choice for the paving was to maintain the 19th century cement decorated tiles; the bands of single-color perimeter tiles have been removed and replaced with a 3mm thick layer of light gray cement resin. The resin further emphasizes the optical illusion of a decorated "carpet", for which these floors have historically been designed, and becomes the new floor for all the rooms and common areas.


 948 mq
 Arch. Marianna Nociforo e Arch. Gioacchino Spera
 Arch. Elio Prestifilippo
 Amar Costruzioni srl for plasterboard parts, paintings and external façade renovation; Comfort Air Center srl for the design and construction of the VRF air treatment system; Power Impianti di Coniglione Orazio for the design and construction of the elect
 Ing. Roberto Cullurà
 -Bathromm fixtures: Antonio Lupi (sink), Disenia (shower tray); Fiora (shower tray); Arvag (faucets); Neve (faucets); Vitra (wc and bidet). -Doors: FG Porte srl. -Building automation: Sts Hotel di I.S.I. srl. -Armchairs: SoftLine by Materia srl. -Shower appliances: Inda srl. -Lighting: Metalmek per electrified tracks; Kartell Lamps; Floss Lamps. -Tv: Philips. -Mini fridge: IdelB. -Mattress: Permaflex. -Windows: Masetti srl. -Roof Vindows: Velux. -Curtains: Gipam Arredamenti srl. -Ceramic plates: Laminam.
 Alfio Garozzo Fotografo


Habitat Studio was founded in 2014 under the direction of Antonio Spera and Marianna Nociforo, and it is mainly involved in hospitality, commercial, residential, and institutional project.
Over the years, with the constitution of Habitat srl, the architects have focused more on the hospitality division, with the adaptation of existing spaces but also with the design of new buildings. The core business of the office takes shape by experiencing all the facets of the hotel industry with the creation of Habitat Hotel project; the architects therefore had the opportunity to take care not only of the renovation of the building but to try their hand at the art direction of the whole company by creating furniture elements built and assembled by them in person, such as wooden tables and steel nightstand, selecting fabrics and taking care of all the graphics associated with the project image.

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