noa* completes Ötzi Peak observation deck on top of 3251 metre glacier in Italy

On top of the Schnals Valley Glacier ridge sits Ötzi Peak, an observation deck designed by Network of Architecture that overlooks the mountain ranges bordering Italy and Austria.

by STIRworld Published on : Sep 08, 2020

At an elevation of 3251 metres, noa* architecture has designed Ötzi Peak, an observation deck that looks over the distant mountain ranges of northern Italy. The architects capture the sublimity of the scenery - at the summit of Schnals Valley Glacier ridge - with stimulating, ample views of the landscape and reservoir below, peeping into Austria. The observation platform abides by the natural topography of the impressive slope, appearing frozen in time in the unique geographic location.

The modern materials of the observation deck blend evenly into the landscape| Ötzi Peak 3251m | noa* network of architecture | STIRworld
The modern materials of the observation deck blend evenly into the landscape Image: Alex Filz

Along the glacier lies Hotel Grawand, one of the few hotels in Europe established at an altitude as high as 3,000 metres above sea level. Network of Architecture designed the viewing platform as an observation tower for hikers, skiers and mountain nomads to appreciate the fascinating history and the breathtaking panorama of the snow-covered mountainscape.

noa* designed the viewing platform as an observation tower for hikers, skiers and mountain nomads | Ötzi Peak 3251m | noa* network of architecture | STIRworld
noa* designed the viewing platform as an observation tower for hikers, skiers and mountain nomads Image: Alex Filz

Ötzi, also known as the Iceman, is the natural mummy of a man who lived in the Ötzal Alps between 3400 and 3100 BCE. Ötzi Peak overlooks the site where the mummy was discovered, near Similaun mountain and Hauslabjoch, on the fringe between Austria and Italy.

The observation deck hovers over the ground to incorporate a preexisting summit cross | Ötzi Peak 3251m | noa* network of architecture | STIRworld
The observation deck hovers over the ground to incorporate a preexisting summit cross Image: Alex Filz

The observation deck hovers over the ground to incorporate a preexisting summit cross, only receiving support where there is a static obligation. Built on a light structure made of Corten steel, the modern materials of the observation deck blend evenly into the landscape. The platform’s ‘plateau grid’ rests on top of slim crossbeams, enveloped in vertical plates of Corten steel.

  • The platform’s ‘plateau grid’ rests on top of slim crossbeams enveloped in vertical plates | Ötzi Peak 3251m | noa* network of architecture | STIRworld
    The platform’s ‘plateau grid’ rests on top of slim crossbeams enveloped in vertical plates Image: Alex Filz
  • Views of the landforms seem to open and close along with the movement of the viewer | Ötzi Peak 3251m | noa* network of architecture | STIRworld
    Views of the landforms seem to open and close along with the movement of the viewer Image: Alex Filz

Views of the landforms seem to open and close along with the movement of the viewer, a magical effect produced by the tall vertical elements that outline the gentle curves of the structures. “The experience invites viewers to discover new perspectives time and again,” the studio explains, while adding that “this unique dynamic creates a fully immersive, sensual experience in which time stands still for a moment and every other souvenir is eclipsed”.

A geometric funnel guides viewers’ eyes towards the place of Ötzi’s discovery | Ötzi Peak 3251m | noa* network of architecture | STIRworld
A geometric funnel guides viewers’ eyes towards the place of Ötzi’s discovery Image: Alex Filz

To guide viewers’ eyes towards the place of Ötzi’s discovery only a few metres away, a geometric funnel was cut into the platform and angled to carry the viewer along an intellectual journey to the Iceman. The Corten steel funnel turns dark brown, grey and black as it surrenders to unite with its backdrop. The end of the funnel is finished with a glass railing to present visitors the impression of ‘walking on air’.

A section through the viewing platform | Ötzi Peak 3251m | noa* network of architecture | STIRworld
A section through the viewing platform Image: Courtesy of noa*

Speaking about the inspiration behind Ötzi Peak, noa* shares, “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”.

Ground floor plan of Ötzi Peak | Ötzi Peak 3251m | noa* network of architecture | STIRworld
Ground floor plan of Ötzi Peak Image: Courtesy of noa*

Project Details

Name: Ötzi Peak 3251m
Typology: Viewing platform
Location: Schnals Valley Glacier, South Tyrol (Italy)
Client: Schnalstaler Gletscherbahn AG
Architecture: noa* network of architecture
Completion: August 2020
Surface area: 80 m2

(Text by Ankitha Gattupalli, intern at stirworld.com)

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