Messner Mountain Museum Corones
The museum, established by renowned climber Reinhold Messner and designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, explores the traditions, history and discipline of mountaineering.
Visitors can descend into the mountain to explore its caverns and grottos, before emerging through the mountain wall on the other side, out onto the overhanging terrace with its spectacular, panoramic views from Zillertal Alps in the north to the Dolomites and South Tyrol.
— Zaha Hadid
Embedded in the summit of Mount Kronplatz, at the center of South Tyrol’s most popular ski resort and 2.275 meters above sea level, the Messner Mountain Museum Corones is surrounded by the renowned Alpine peaks of the Zillertal, Ortler, and Dolomites.
Reinhold Messner’s vision for a museum submerged within the summit of Mount Kronplatz included very specific positions of how the building should emerge from the ground as shards of rock and ice.
Informed by the geology of the region, canopies cast of in-situ concrete convey the shards of rock and ice as they rise from the mountain to protect the entrance, viewing windows and terraces.
Reflecting the lighter shades and tones of the jagged limestone peaks of the surrounding Dolomites, the exterior panels that protect the museum’s entrance, panorama windows and viewing terrace are comprised of a light shade of glass-reinforced fiber concrete. These exterior panels fold inside the museum to meet the darker shade interior panels with the luster and tones of the anthracite.
The museum is divided into several levels to reduce its footprint. A series of staircases, like waterfalls in a mountain stream, cascade within the museum to connect the exhibition spaces and unfold the circulation over three levels. The wide windows allow natural light to penetrate deep within the museum, drawing visitors forward through the interior to emerge at the viewing terrace, which cantilevers six meters from the mountain wall over the valley below.
During construction, 4.000 cubic meters (140.000 cubic feet) of earth were excavated, then placed above and around the museum’s structure, immersing the museum within Mount Kronplatz and helping to stabilize internal temperatures.
Constructed from in-situ reinforced concrete, the museum’s structural walls are between 40–50cm while its roof is up to 70cm thick, in order to support the earth that embeds the museum in the mountain. A majority of the museum’s exterior and interior panels are also made from in-situ concrete; a formwork of tapered surfaces is used to generate the peaks and abutments of the exterior concrete panels, mirroring the rock and ice formations of the surrounding mountain landscape.
Almost 400 of the internal and external panels are prefabricated, with the more complex curved elements created by spraying layers of high-performance fiber-concrete into a mold carved from CNC-milled foam using the architect’s 3D model.