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Zaha Hadid's mountain-top museum opens

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A new museum designed by Zaha Hadid for famous mountaineer Reinhold Messner has opened on the top of the Kronplatz peak, in the South Tyrol, Italy

The 1,000m² scheme is the sixth and final project in the series of Messner Mountain Museums (MMM) backed by the 70-year-old climber famous for making the first ascent of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen.

More than 4,000m³ of earth was removed from the top of the Kronplatz-Plan de Corones Ski Mountain to house the the mainly subterranean building, known as the MMM Corones.

Visitors enter through the top level - which houses the cashiers and a small museum shop - before moving down ‘waterfall-like’ stairways leading to three floors of exhibition space.

The bottom floor opens out to a 40m² terrace with a 240° panorama from the Zillertal Alps to the Ortles-Ortler to the Dolomites. The building also icludes a 20-seat cinema.

Speaking about the project, Messner said: ‘The theme is rock and the great faces; the original, traditional mountain climbing is to rise again here. The particular thing about this museum is the combination of the location, the view, and the architecture.’

Owen Pritchard - Technical Editor’s View

The Messner Mountain Museum (MMM) could be considered as part of a ‘mountain suite’ of buildings by ZHA that started with the unbuilt The Peak Leisure Club in Hong Kong (1982/83), includes The Bergisel Ski Jump(2002) and Nordpark Cable Railway (2007), both in Innsbruck, Austria.

This is a modest ZHA building. It might seem strange to commission an architect with such a readily identifiable brand to design a museum that is buried underground. We are used to seeing ZHA buildings dominate an urban landscape, in Corones the architect allows the building to be consumed by its context. The contrast between the natural landscape and the protruding windows and balconies of the manmade building is executed with great care.

The MMM has the potential to be a site of pilgrimage not only for mountaineers but also for those who worship at the altar of parametricism.

Zaha Hadid, Messner museum at Kronplatz-Plan de Corones Ski Mountain

Section: Zaha Hadid, Messner museum at Kronplatz-Plan de Corones Ski Mountain

Factfile: Messner Mountain Museums

MMM comprises six museums. MMM Firmian in Sigmundskron Castle near Bozen is the heart of the Mountain Museum; MMM Ortles in Sulden is devoted to the glaciers and the world of eternal ice; at MMM Dolomites on Monte Rite south of Cortina, the focus is on rock and mountain climbing in the Dolomites; MMM Juval in Juval Castle in Vinschgau relates the myths of the mountain. MMM Ripa in Bruneck Castle tells the story of the mountain peoples. MMM, MMM Corones between the Gader Valley, Olang and the Puster Valley development of modern mountaineering and 250 years of progress with regard to the equipment.

The museums are ‘not conventional art or natural science museums; they have an interdisciplinary design. Each of the museums occupies a unique location, which helps relate the museum’s theme to the collections and the architecture. The geographical location, relics and works of art combine to form a whole.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Really clumsy and inappropriate to mix the form and materiality of the Nordpark Cable Railway with the wonders of the rocky summit of Kronplatz. If you want to see how to do it properly, and with respect to its natural surroundings, inside and out, visit the Temppeliaukio Church in the Rock in Helsinki by Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen.

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