Messner meets Hadid: The Corones Museum in South Tyrol

28.08.2015

Admittedly, it takes a bit of an effort to get there, especially from far-away countries. But then again: who says that the good things in life are to be had in passing? Ask Reinhold Messner: If there were more „eight-thousanders“ to be conquered, he would most likely have done so and still always have chosen the most challenging variety of ventures. Similarly extraordinary and not seldom daring, are Zaha Hadid’s architectural structures which reliably become prized icons one by one – wherever and for whichever purpose they may have been established. The intriguing element uniting the random duo seems to be that reaching for the skies is an inborn ambition, and that achieving the utmost a natural consequence. Both personalities’ visions and disciplines merged, result in remarkable projects such as the Corones Museum, submerged into the South Tyrolean peak of Mount Kronplatz 2,275m above sea level.

The Corones Museum: A tangible history of Alpinism

Reinhold Messner: „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.” The museum’s central topic revolves around „rock“ and the lives of mountaineers and climbers and displays a unique collection of objects, images and tools compiled by Messner.

Forging a symbiosis with nature

Zaha Hadid explains the concept of her design: “The idea is that visitors can descend within the mountain to explore its caverns and grottos, before emerging through the mountain wall on the other side, out onto the terrace overhanging the valley far below with spectacular, panoramic views.” To reduce its footprint, the Corones' 1,000 sqms space is arranged over several levels. By immersing the museum within Mount Kronplatz, a more constant internal temperature can be maintained. To achieve this effect, 4,000 cubic meters (140,000 cubic feet) of earth and rock were excavated and then again replaced above and around the finished structure.

Zaha Hadid explains the concept of her design: “The idea is that visitors can descend within the mountain to explore its caverns and grottos, before emerging through the mountain wall on the other side, out onto the terrace overhanging the valley far below with spectacular, panoramic views.”
To reduce its footprint, the Corones’ 1,000 sqms space is arranged over several levels. By immersing the museum within Mount Kronplatz, a more constant internal temperature can be maintained. To achieve this effect, 4,000 cubic meters (140,000 cubic feet) of earth and rock were excavated and then again replaced above and around the finished structure. Photo credit: ©inexhibit.com

Inside, waterfall-resembling staircases cascade through the museum. At the lowest level the terrace, projecting six metres from the mountainside, offers a spectactular 240 degree panorama view across the Alps. Photo credit: ©Werner Huthmacher. www.zaha-hadid.com

Inside, waterfall-resembling staircases cascade through the museum. At the lowest level the terrace, projecting six metres from the mountainside, offers a spectacular 240 degree panorama view across the Alps.
Photo credit: ©Werner Huthmacher.
www.zaha-hadid.com

Cable-cars vs. Wanderlust

Visitors to the museum are free to opt for a cable-car ride up to the peak, of course, to arrive at the Corones, the „crown“ topping the mountain, in a comfortable swoosh – while dreamily succumbing to a breathtaking panoramic view over the rugged Dolomites along the way. Doubly „breathtaking“ and far more valuable as an experience may be to cover the ascent by employing one’s own two legs. Especially rewarding in fine weather. Takes some stamina and four hours minimum, depending on the selected route. Nevermind the blisters and the bones aching in the aftermath! Proud as peacocks the ones gripped by Wanderlust will be. The shortest stretch, and perhaps also the most benign, ought to be this one: „Starting point San Vigilio di Marebbe: From San Vigilio to passo Furcia (signpost no.1), then follow the military trail to the top. Alternative path: shortcut passing by the mountain refuges Panorama and Grazia.“ All details as to access and ascent (and descent) are here: www.mmmcorones.com

The Kronplatz is South Tyrol’s largest skiing area sporting bespoke amenities. To facilitate access, bus transfers are offered at reasonable rates from these airports: Munich, Salzburg, Bergamo, Milan and Verona. Bookings must be made minimum 48 hours ahead of arrival. www.kronplatz.com

Now a lofty sextette: The Messner Mountain Museums

„Six places – six exhibitions – six experiences“ stand for a unique enterprise dedicated to mountains and their culture. The Corones is the latest – and last – addition to the network of Messner museums all located in extraordinary sites within South Tyrol and Belluno. They have been established to become „a place of encounter with the mountains, with mountain people and ultimately with ourselves.“ The other five are: MMM Dolomites/Firmian/Juval/Ortles and Ripa. Round trip tour tickets are available.

Encounters with Reinhold Messner

It is feasible to meet up with mountaineering legend Reinhold Messner. To gather around a crackling campfire and listen to his stimulating stories, ask questions during a tour through one of the museums, walk with him along steep mountain paths or to witness scraggy Yak being driven up to sappy meadows in spring. Bookings are required: info@reinholdmessner.it All MMMs make quite exceptional venues ready to be rented for events. For details and inquiries, please contact: corones@messner-mountain-museum.it

„On the mountain, I never took two steps at once. If you want to go beyond existing limits, you have to proceed slowly, surely and constantly, step by step. Anyone who is in a hurry and misses out a step will stumble sooner or later.“ Reinhold Messner

Header image (cropped): ©Werner Huthmacher All images depicting the Corones Museum are courtesy of ©Zaha Hadid Architects.