Peak Performance

An observation platform in Italy takes tourists to new heights

 

the Edge

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IMAGES COURTESY OF NOA NETWORK OF ARCHITECTURE

“Hikers and skiers visit the peak to experience nature at its fullest: rugged, stony, with wind and weather—pure.”

—Noa Network of Architecture

The observation platform Iceman Ötzi Peak is elevated 3,251 meters (10,666 feet) above sea level, but thin alpine air was just one challenge the project team had to contend with. Frigid temperatures at the exposed building site informed both material choices and work schedules, which were developed to maintain team safety and structural longevity.

The platform—named for the spot where the world’s oldest glacier mummy, Ötzi, was discovered in 1991—provides panoramic views of the Schnals Valley Glacier ridge, in South Tyrol, Italy. The project team chose corten steel as the main material, because it can withstand severe temperatures. It turns dark brown, gray and black throughout prolonged exposure to the elements and, in the process, resembles the glacier itself.

To heighten the sensation that visitors are floating above the mountain ridge below, Italian architecture firm Noa designed the platform to sit atop slender crossbeams, with vertical steel slats around the structure serving as a guardrail while maximizing views. One side juts farther over the precipice and is enclosed in glass, allowing for unobstructed views— the same that Ötzi might have seen some 5,300 years ago.

PROJECT

Iceman Ötzi Peak

PROJECT SPONSOR

Schnalstaler Gletscherbahn AG

SCHEDULE

The project was completed in August.

ALL ACCESS

To access the platform, visitors take a cable car to the Glacier Hotel Grawand, one of the highest hotels in Europe, then walk to the viewing platform.

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