- Architects: noa* network of architecture
- Area: 80 m²
- Year: 2020
- Photographs: Alex Filz
- Client:Schnalstaler Gletscherbahn AG
At the new observation deck at the Schnals valley glacier, the wide-open view will refresh your mind. New perspectives emerge where a rainfall begins its long journey in the sea. This is a stunning location at the top of the Schnals Valley’s glacier ridge, overlooking the reservoir below and the impressive Italian mountain scenery, with Austria just around the corner. In this unique geographical location and architecture, fate decides whether to allow a drop of glacier water to flow towards the Mediterranean or the Black Sea.
Beyond The Peak
This unique alpine crossroads is home to one of Europe’s few hotels at such an altitude of over 3000m above sea level. The summit is about 50 meters away and a stone’s throw away. The breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountains cause the time to stand still. Walkers and skiers come to the summit to fully immerse themselves in nature: rough, stony, windy, and weather – pure.
Noa* has created an unrivaled architectural structure so that visitors planning a longer stay and day-trip mountain nomads can experience the amazing journey to the mountain station and learn about its fascinating history.
A viewing platform was created using a light structure made of steel Corten, which gives it a modern feel while also blending in with the landscape. The design incorporates the pre-existing top cross, and the platform only affects the floor where static necessity is required, resulting in a detached, almost floating structure that allows one to breathe freely in the presence of the mountains.
The platform is natural in appearance, with a tray grid atop slender crossbeams surrounded by vertical Corten steel lamellas. These gentle curves are followed by the parapet’s high, vertical elements. This produces a magical effect, with the views opening and closing in response to the viewer’s motion – an invitation to discover more and more new perspectives. This one-of-a-kind combination creates a fully immersive, sensory experience in which time stands still and every other recollection fades away.
An ondulated viewing platform was cut into a geometrical funnel to direct the eyes to something timeless — the location where Ötzi was discovered. The viewing funnel, which is only a few meters from the Austrian border, leads the visitor on a carefully crafted intellectual journey to the Iceman. The viewing funnel is made of Corten steel, which, like the rails, oxidizes to dark brown, grey, and black as it ages. The funnel’s end is supplemented with a glass rail, which gives your mind flight in breathtaking suspense.