Buried within a mountaintop nearly 7,500 feet above sea level, this remarkable semi-subterranean mountaineering museum, designed for a unique client – the first man to scale Everest without oxygen.
Designed by Zaha Hadid (images by Werner Huthmacher), the Messner Mountain Museum Corones refers to Reinhold Messner. Located atop Mount Kronplatz in Italy, it is the first in a series of planned mountaintop museums, each designed to create a sense of journey and adventure for its visitors.
In this case, one arrives from the side then continues below the surface before emerging to discover a dazzling view of the surrounding landscapes and peaks, framed by huge windows or enjoyed from a balcony jutting over the edge.
As one travels through the building, the focus shifts from artifacts and exhibits within the museum back to the outdoor world that inspired this famous climber to become the first to ascend all fourteen of the world’s tallest peaks. The signature curves of Hadid’s work guide one through narrowing and widening spaces, slopes and steps, each shaping the experience.
From the architects: “A composition of fluid, interconnected volumes, the 1000 sq. m. MMM Corones design is carved within the mountain and informed by the geology and topography of its context. A sharp glass canopy, like a fragment of glacial ice, rises from the rock to mark and protect the museum’s entrance”
Without further landscaping, it is hard to say whether the building in reality reflects the mountain-piercing concept, but a freshly-constructed work of architecture is rarely finished until more greenery (and maybe in this case some additional dirt) comes back into play.
More from Messner on the museum itself: “On Kronplatz I present the development of modern mountaineering and 250 years of progress with regard to the equipment. I speak of triumphs and tragedies on the world’s most famous peaks – the Matterhorn, Cerro Torre, K2 – and shed light on alpinism with the help of relics, thoughts, works of art, and by reflecting the outside mountain backcloth in the interior of MMM Corones.”