London-based architect Zaha Hadid has completed a museum for renowned climber Reinhold Messner at the top of Alpine peak Mount Kronplatz, featuring underground galleries and a viewing platform cantilevered over a valley.
The Messner Mountain Museum Corones is the final installment in a series of six mountaintop museums built by Messner – the first climber to ascend all 14 mountains over 8,000 meters and to reach the summit of Mount Everest without additional oxygen.
Located 2,275 meters above sea level, in the heart of the popular Kronplatz ski resort in South Tyrol, Italy, the building exhibits objects, images and tools that tell the story of Messner’s life as a mountaineer.
Hadid designed the structure built into the side of the mountain, emerging only at certain points to offer specific views. Three large volumes appear to burst through the rock face, each featuring softly curved forms made from glass-reinforced fiber concrete. The first two form picture windows, framing views of the Peitlerkofel and Heiligkreuzkofel mountains, while the third is a balcony that projects out by six meters, offering visitors a view west towards the Ortler range.
More concrete forms emerge from the ground to create canopies that frame the building’s entrance. Zaha Hadid’s firm chose cast concrete to give the appearance of rock and ice shards, referencing the geology of the region. Glass-reinforced fiber concrete gives the building’s exterior a pale gray tone, while internally the panels become darker – intended to match the luster and tones of anthracite coal buried underground.
The walls of the building are between 40 and 50 centimeters thick in order to support the structure from the pressure of the surrounding earth, while the roof has thicknesses of up to 70 centimeters.
Inside, galleries are organized over three floors, connected by staircases that the firm described as being “like waterfalls in a mountain stream.”