noa* network of architecture: Winner of Architect of the Year Awards 2020. Where a raindrop begins its long journey into the sea, new perspectives appear: at the new observation deck on the Schnals Valley Glacier, and your mind is refreshed with the wide-open views.
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.
The Hotel Grawand lies at the very top of this unique alpine intersection, which at over 3,000 meters above sea level, is one of the few hotels in Europe located at such an altitude. 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.
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 that lets you become one with the mountains and breathe in the freedom.
The 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 follow the movement of the viewer – an invitation to discover new perspectives time and again.
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. 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 your thoughts flight in breathtaking suspense – it seems like you are walking on air.
Firm || noa* network of architecture
Project Name || Ötzi Peak 3251m
Architect || noa* network of architecture
Architect of the Year Award Category || Mixed-Use Built
Project Location || Senales
Team || Andreas Profanter
Country || Italy
Photography ©Credit || ©Alex Filz
noa* is the essential expression of a collaborative work-ethos: the young team of architects & designers, led by founders Lukas Rungger and Stefan Rier and based in Bolzano (Italy) and since April 2018 also in Berlin (Germany), explores and examines interdisciplinary methods of design, continuously evolving depending on both nature and requirements of each project. By following the concept of “emergence”, where the whole is perceived as being far greater than the sum of its parts, a holistic approach and strategy are central to noa*s way of conceiving design.