Messner Mountain Museum Corones

by | 16. Aug 2015

Cultural | Project

By Kirsten Kiser

Established by renowned climber Reinhold Messner, the museum designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, explores the traditions, history and discipline of mountaineering.

Photo courtesy of

Visitors can descend into the mountain to explore its caverns and grottos, before emerging through the mountain wall on the other side, out onto the overhanging terrace with its spectacular, panoramic views from Zillertal Alps in the north to the Dolomites and South Tyrol.”
/Zaha Hadid

Photo courtesy of

Embedded within the summit of Mount Kronplatz, 2,275 meters above sea level, in the center of South Tyrol’s most popular ski resort, the Messner Mountain Museum Corones is surrounded by the renowned Alpine peaks of the Zillertal, Ortler and Dolomites.

Reinhold Messner’s vision for a museum submerged within the summit of Mount Kronplatz included very specific positions of how the building should emerge from the ground as shards of rock and ice.

Photo ©Wisthaler,

Photo ©Wisthaler,

Informed by the geology of the region, canopies cast of in-situ concrete convey the shards of rock and ice as they rise from the mountain to protect the entrance, viewing windows and terraces.

Reflecting the lighter shades and tones of the jagged limestone peaks of the surrounding Dolomites, the exterior panels that protect the museum’s entrance, panorama windows and viewing terrace are comprised of a light shade of glass-reinforced fibre concrete. These exterior panels fold within inside the museum to meet the darker shade interior panels with the luster and tones of the anthracite.

Photo courtesy of

Photo: Werner Huthmacher,

Photo: Werner Huthmacher,

The museum is arranged over several levels to reduce its footprint. A series of staircases, like waterfalls in a mountain stream, cascade within the museum to connect the exhibition spaces and describe the circulation over three levels. The wide windows allow natural light to penetrate deep within the museum, drawing visitors forward throughout the interior to emerge at the viewing terrace which cantilevers 6 meters from the mountain wall over the valley below.


Rendering courtesy ZHA


Rendering courtesy ZHA

Photo: Werner Huthmacher,

Photo: Werner Huthmacher,

During construction, 4,000 cubic meters (140,000 cubic feet) of earth was excavated, to be replaced above and around the museum’s structure, immersing the museum within Mount Kronplatz and helping to maintain a more constant internal temperature.

Constructed from in-situ reinforced concrete, the museum’s structure has walls between 40-50cm, while its roof, to support the earth that embeds the museum into the mountain, is up to 70cm thick. A majority of the museum’s exterior and interior panels are also made from in-situ concrete; with a formwork of tapered surfaces used to generate the peaks and abutments of the exterior concrete panels to express the rock and ice formations of the surrounding mountain landscape.

Almost 400 of the internal and external panels are prefabricated, with the more complex curved elements created by spraying layers of high-performance fibre-concrete into a mould carved from CNC-milled foam using the architect’s 3D model.


ARCHITECTCornelius Schlotthauer
Zaha Hadid Architects