Where Hadid Dares

ZHA’s mountain masterpiece celebrates the history and skills of Alpine adventure.

Zaha Hadid has completed a museum at the top of Alpine peak Mount Kronplatz in Italy for climber Reinhold Messner, featuring underground galleries and a viewing platform cantilevered over a valley.

At 2,275m above sea level at the summit of South Tyrol’s most popular ski resort, the Messner Mountain Museum Corones is surrounded by alpine peaks.

Established by Messner, the museum explores the traditions, history, equipment and discipline of mountaineering along with acting as a viewing platform.

Messner is the first person to have climbed all 14 mountains around the world over 8,000m in height, and was the first to climb Mount Everest without the aid of tanked oxygen.

He said: “Kronplatz offers views beyond the borders of South Tyrol to all points of the compass – from the Lienz Dolomites in the east to the Ortler in the west, from the Marmolada Glacier in the south to the Zillertal Alps in the north.

“The museum is a mirror of the world of my childhood – the Geislerspitzen, the central buttress of the Heiligkreuzkofel–the most difficult climb in my whole life – and the glaciated granite mountains of the Ahrn Valley.”

Hadid explained the design concept: “The idea [is] that visitors can descend within the mountain to explore its caverns and grottos, before emerging through the mountain wall on the other side, out on to the terrace overhanging the valley far below with spectacular, panoramic views.”

Informed by the geology of the region, concrete canopies convey the shards of rock and ice of the surrounding landscape to protect the entrance, viewing windows and terrace.

Reflecting the lighter shades and tones of the jagged limestone peaks, the exterior panels are made in a lighter shade of glass-reinforced fibre concrete.

These surfaces fold within the museum to meet the darker shaded interior panels that have the luster and tones of the anthracite that makes up much of the stark landscape.