Some years later the openings of the Messner Mountain Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects, the Museo del Passo by Werner Tschol, the architectural refuge on Mont Skuta designed by OFIS Architects with AKT II and Harvard students, the Monte Rosa Hut, designed by a partnership between the ETH students, Bearth & Deplazes Architekten and Studio Monte Rosa, to name a few of our favourites, the Alps are enriched with a new beautiful contemporary architecture designed by noa* network of architecture: Ötzi Peak, a brand new 360-degree view observation deck located at 3,250 meters on a glacial ridge in the Italian Alps, has just opened to the public.

Ötzi Peak 3251m by noa* network of architecture is a steel and glass structure overlooks the place where Ötzi, one of the most famous mummies in the world, was locked in ice for thousands of years.

As the architects say “There is something sublime about this special place, right at the top of the Schnals Valley Glacier ridge, where Italy’s impressive alpine landscape soars high above the reservoir below, and Austria is around the corner.  In this unique geographic location, fate decides whether a drop of glacier water will make its way towards the Mediterranean or the Black Sea

To access the platform, travelers can take a cable car from the town of Maso Corto in South Tyrol to the 36-room Glacier hotel Grawand, one of the highest-altitude hotels in Europe. The hotel lies at the very top of this unique alpine intersection, which at over 3,000 meters above sea level.

The summit is a stone’s throw away at a distance of about 50 meters. The breathtaking landscape view of snow-covered mountain peaks makes time standstill. Hikers and skiers visit the peak to experience nature at its fullest: rugged, stony, with wind and weather – pure.

In order to enable visitors planning a more extended stay, as well as day-seizing mountain nomads, to experience not only the breathtaking ride to the mountain station, but also to get to know the fascinating history of this alpine wonderland, noa* designed a unique architectural structure.

A viewing platform was developed based on a light structure made of Corten steel, giving a modern touch that also blends in with the landscape. The design incorporates the pre- existing summit cross, and the platform only touches the ground where there is a static necessity – creating a detached, almost floating construction which lets you become one with the mountains and breathe in the freedom.

Ötzi Peak 3251m by noa* network of architecture

The Ötzi Peak 3251m platform follows the natural topography with a plateau grid placed on top of slender crossbeams, which are enveloped in vertical lamellas of Corten steel.

The parapet-high, vertical elements trace these gentle curves in their sequence. This creates a magical effect: an opening and closing of views that follows the movement of the viewer – an invitation to discover new perspectives time and again. This unique dynamic creates a fully immersive, sensual experience in which time stands still for a moment and every other souvenir is eclipsed.

Speaking of time, a geometric funnel was cut into the undulating viewing platform to direct viewers eyes towards something timeless – the place where Ötzi was found. Only a few meters from the Austrian border, the angle of the viewing funnel takes the visitor on a carefully crafted, intellectual journey to the Iceman.

Ötzi Peak 3251m by noa* network of architecture

The viewing funnel was designed with Corten steel, and like the slats on the railing, the steel turns dark brown, grey and black as it yields to the elements and becomes one with its surroundings. The funnel end is completed with a glass railing which gives the flight of your thoughts in breathtaking suspense – it seems like you are walking on air.

 

 

Photography: Alex Filz