Messner Mountain Museum

Federico Tibytt

Dame Zaha Hadid received the 2016 RIBA Gold Medal awarded by the British Crown. This stunning museum was one of her last projects.

When two masters in their respective fields join efforts, significant events happen. This is the case of the new Messner Mountain Museum, created by the famous mountaineer Reinhold Messner and designed by superstar architect Zaha Hadid.

Messner Mountain Museum

Reinhold Messner was born in 1944 in the Alpine region and grew up in the mountains of northern Italy, later to become the most renowned mountain climber in history. In 1978 he was the first mountaineer to climb the mythical Mount Everest without the aid of supplementary oxygen, a feat he would repeat alone two years later, then he was consecrated as the only climber to vanquish fourteen peaks over 8,000 meters (26,000-feet) high and was the first man to cross the Antarctic territory by its own means, without the help of vehicles or animals.
This tireless adventurer credits his success on introspective reflection that he experiences while climbing. In his lectures—and numerous books—he has said that the higher he climbs, the clearer he becomes.

This is why he tried to make his expeditions without the usual special accessories used to facilitate the task. The goal was to overcome adversity, grow and learn.

Messner Mountain Museum

As a tribute to his passion, Messner decided to rescue and recover 250 years of mountaineering history. He put all his efforts into the construction of six museums dedicated to mountaineering, of which the most prominent is the beautiful masterpiece designed by Zaha Hadid on top of the Kronplatz plateau in South Tyrol, Italy.

Built in stone, it emerges from the mountain with splendid viewpoints towards all directions, south of the Tyrolean River. Composed of several exhibition galleries, recreation areas, and multimedia rooms, the museum hosts a collection of artworks and historical objects that elucidate the history of mountaineering.

The majestic panoramic views, exhibits, and installations inside the labyrinths of the building convey the sensations experienced by mountaineers in their rough and dangerous adventures.

Messner Mountain Museum

The building is composed primarily of glass and fiber cement panels. The irregular lines blend harmoniously with the natural landscape, crowning—with its beauty—the place where it is located. Hence the name “Corones“, the local word for “crown”, which refers to the high point of a mountain or plateau from where you can see the rest of the valley and is often the preferred point for climbers and for those who practice hand gliding.

The beauty of the Corones Museum, a fusion of aesthetics and passion helped Dame Zaha Hadid earn the 2016 Royal Gold Medal for Architecture, awarded each year by the British crown.  ■

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