Aesthetic architecture & high engineering in the mountains
For some people it’s a UFO that has landed on a mountain ridge, for others a suspended, understated construction that skilfully blends into the mountain world. Aesthetic architecture coupled with high engineering skills have made it possible to achieve this extraordinary building at this altitude. The concept developed by the architects Baumschlager Hutter Partners of placing a cable car mountain station with integrated catering facilities as minimalist as possible within the majestic mountain landscape was inspired by observing Mother Nature herself. The shape of the building is based on a snow cornice, windblown snow that remains streamlined in the glacier world. The free-flowing shapes yield to the weather conditions and bow to the power of nature.
The construction of this spectacular station at an altitude of 3,440 metres was completed by the company Frener und Reifer from South Tyrol. The formative steel structure was covered with a free-form aluminium roof skin. Hundreds of differently shaped aluminium sheet panels, fastening brackets and assembly and spacer profiles had to be planned, produced and assembled on site with millimetre precision in order to envelope the surface of the mountain station, 1620 m2. The actual installation time was 4 months and required peak physical performance, especially from the fitters on site, who were working at this altitude in sometimes extreme weather conditions.
Interior design with down-to-earth elegance: Visitors can expect a modern coffee house at a dizzying height, where rustic oak wood has not been sacrificed – just interpreted in a simple yet clear manner. But that’s not the end of the superlatives: Homemade cakes and tarts from Tyrol’s highest confectionery shop are served alongside your latte macchiato, espresso or cappuccino. The buckwheat cake with cranberry jam comes highly recommended. There are of course also sandwiches and warm snacks to revitalise you for the next descents on the Pitztal Glacier. There is space to accommodate approx. 100 people, including the terrace, while those who want to upload their photos of the free-floating terrace, including the panorama, immediately online can use the free WiFi.
Hans Rubatscher, one of the main shareholders of the Pitztal Gletscherbahn mountain railways and the initiator of the new Wildspitzbahn, wanted a “democratisation” of the Alps. “By creating an attractive café at the site where the old mountain station used to be, we have rendered this extreme location accessible to the elderly, the very young and the physically challenged.” This single most accessible and highest viewpoint in the Pitztal Glacier ski resort can be enjoyed by everyone. As before, only experienced alpinists can access the many thousands of mountain peaks in the Pitztal Valley and the Alps.