Messner Mountain Museum
The ZHA-Designed Museum Dedicated to the Mountains and its Climbers
Still one of the most fascinating projects dedicated to the supreme discipline of mountaineering.
The Messner Mountain Museum on the top of Kronplatz mountain in the Plan de Corones in South Tyrol, Italy has been designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) for Italian mountaineer and extreme climber Reinhold Messner.
Completed in 2015, this museum is part of 6 mountaineering museums on different mountains in the Alto Adige region – Firmian, Juval, Dolomites, Ortles, Ripa and Corones mountains – and each is a journey in itself to get to.
The 6 museums each highlight a different part of mountaineering: one museum is dedicated to mountaineering on ice and great glaciers, another on holy mountains, another on mountain people, and another specifically to rock. Here on Kronplatz, the ZHA-designed Messner Mountain Museums (MMM) focusses on traditional mountaineering – Alpinism history and traditions – highlighting its remarkable challenges and feats through evolution in tools and the impenetrable human spirit.
At an altitude of 2,275 meters above sea level, the ZHA-designed MMM is equally as awe-inspiring from a distance as it is close up.
The buildings interlinked design of concrete forms mimic the mountain’s protruding rocks, and is a “composition of fluid, interconnected volumes carved within the mountain”. It is instantly identifiable as ZHA design, with the intention of the studio to work together with nature and the surrounding context.
In the museum there is a cinema, three-floor exhibition area and viewing deck onto the vast, open landscape. Inside, it feels intimate and bunker-like, the concrete form accentuated by flowing forms of the interiors details such as handrails and lights. Looking out from within, the landscape is framed by the design’s curved windows. Outside, the reflective glass on the exterior mirrors the mountain-scape.
The first to scale all 14 of the world’s 8,000-metre-plus mountains, and to climb Mt Everest alone (without supplementary oxygen), Reinhold Messner is a legend in the field of mountaineering, he’s pushed the limits of human achievement and possibility to new heights. He now no longer climbs professionally, but continues to champion those that do, and the mountains that make it all possible.
Through his passion for mountaineering, Reinhold Messner founded the MMM project to educate visitors on his joint encounter with mountains, their spirit and inhabitants. He explains, “Corones” is the Ladin word for “crown”, like “Krone” in German. And Kronplatz – South Tyrol’s famous mountain for skiers and hikers and a perfect launchpad for hanggliders and paragliders – is now home to the crowning piece of my mountain museum project, a place of quiet where people can slow down and enjoy unforgettable views. It is a place of withdrawal that opens up the human senses for the above and beyond, where the mountains become an experiential space and a part of our culture. In mental flights beyond all summits, they are revealed anew.”
The Corones mountain is famous for skiers and hikers in all seasons, in addition to mountain-bikers, hang-gliders and para-gliders, their descent is a wonder to see, especially with a backdrop of the surrounding mountainous region.
Getting here is easier than one might think. An hours drive from Bolzano on the main highway, there are multiple signs leading to Plan de Corones and specifically, Kronplatz2000 the main cable car to get up to MMM (take note it is also not possible to drive up to the top). There are different cable cars at different bases of the mountain, depending which direction visitors come from.
The journey here is more than worth it. On the top of Kronplatz mountain there is the LUMEN mountain photography museum, and AlpiNN restaurant by Norbert Niedorkoffler who uses strictly ingredients from the South Tyrol region only. The restaurant alone is a destination in itself, and offers wonderful views of the Messner Museum from its main dining room.
Ofcourse it’s encouraged to hike to every 6 of the Messner Museum’s, where the sights, smells and sounds of the South Tyrol region can be experienced as journeyers climb higher up in altitude.
On Kronplatz, there are multiple routes for beginners and skilled climbers alike, with the journey changing with the seasons. At any time of year, the beauty of the region astounds and delights, ensuring to charm visitors back time and time again.
Messner Mountain Museum [Corones]
Top of Mount Kronplatz,
South Tyrol, Italy
Text: Monique Kawecki
Images: Copyright © Champ Magazine