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Messner Mountain Museum Corones

MMM Corones on Kronplatz – between the Gader Valley, Olang and the Puster Valley – is the final act in the Messner Mountain Museum project (which comprises a total of six facilities). On the edge of South Tyrol’s mountain plateau with the most spectacular views, in the unique museum architecture created by Zaha Hadid Architects.

Messner-Mountain-Museum-Corones-By-Zaha-Hadid-Architects-05-inexhibit.com_-759x505 Messner Mountain Museum Corones / Zaha Hadid Architects

© inexhibit.com

  • Embedded within the summit of Mount Kronplatz, 2,275m above sea level at the centre South Tyrol’s most popular ski resort, the Messner Mountain Museum Corones is surrounded by the alpine peaks of the Zillertal, Ortler and Dolomites. Established by renowned climber Reinhold Messner, the sixth and final Messner Mountain Museum explores the traditions, history and discipline of mountaineering.
Messner-Mountain-Museum-Corones-By-Zaha-Hadid-Architects-07-Werner-Huthmacher-800x1200 Messner Mountain Museum Corones / Zaha Hadid Architects

© Werner Huthmacher

“The world has never seen anything like it.” A look of satisfaction at a job well done was written on the faces of those individuals who were a driving force in the creation of the MMM Corones, as the blue Moessmer Loden fabric that artistically cloaked the entrance was cast aside during this morning’s grand opening. Construction of the sixth and final Reinhold Messner Museum for Alpine Mountaineering took nearly two years.

“The museum’s development was, without a doubt, a challenge… not only for us, but for each and every company involved in the construction, the majority of which are based in South Tyrol. But with grit, decisiveness, ample motivation and the fantastic contributions of all those involved, this masterful achievement has been realised,” summarised Skirama’s President Matthias Prugger during his opening speech before an audience of many invited guests.

Messner-Mountain-Museum-Corones-By-Zaha-Hadid-Architects-09-flickr-sangiovese-759x569 Messner Mountain Museum Corones / Zaha Hadid Architects

© flickr-sangiovese

The MMM Corones, which shall be devoted to Alpinism’s supreme discipline, was planned by star architect Zaha Hadid, who is famous for powerful, curving forms and elongated structures that avoid right angles. It is for this reason that concrete is the MMM Corones’ dominant construction material, despite creating geometric obstacles that challenged the realm of known possibilities. Patrik Schumacher, who also addressed the guests, received a personal tour of the exhibition from Reinhold Messner himself.

Messner-Mountain-Museum-Corones-By-Zaha-Hadid-Architects-17-Hufton_Crow-759x578 Messner Mountain Museum Corones / Zaha Hadid Architects

© Hufton + Crow

The complexity of the project was the source of many sleepless nights and taxed minds, not to mention the logistical hardships of construction. After all, many parts had to be transported by lorry to the construction site at 2,275 m, where work was often delayed by the adverse mountain conditions.

“All of our efforts have been rewarded. Today, we stand before something exceptional. Our vision has become reality. Plan de Corones has now been transformed from a winter ski haven to a year-round attraction,” said Prugger. “The more than three-million euro investment was 100% funded by the Plan de Corones cable-car operators themselves.

Messner-Mountain-Museum-Corones-By-Zaha-Hadid-Architects-20-Hufton_Crow-759x563 Messner Mountain Museum Corones / Zaha Hadid Architects

© Hufton + Crow

The Highlight:

  • The MMM Corones was opened with a particular highlight: Reminiscent of the artistic veiling of the Reichstag in Berlin with aluminum-coated synthetic material by the artist Christo more than 20 years ago, the MMM Corones was cloaked in fabric and mystery.
  • Fabricated by the Moessmer Tuchfabrik AG, a giant veil was created exclusively for the Messner Mountain Museum “Corones” at Plan de Corones. More than 150 centimetres wide and 350 metres long, it was made of elegant midnight blue. The Loden-cloth length of material was made especially for the breathtaking grand opening. “The colour blue has stood for art and culture since the middle ages,” said Moessmer’s President and Majority Shareholder Paul Oberrauch. “With this grand unveiling, we aim to meld tradition with modernity, just as we do with our fabrics on a daily basis.”
  • It was a spectacular gesture by those responsible for the project, underlining their courage to begin and their joy in demonstrating to the world something that had previously never been done before.
Messner-Mountain-Museum-Corones-By-Zaha-Hadid-Architects-22-Hufton_Crow-759x589 Messner Mountain Museum Corones / Zaha Hadid Architects

© Hufton + Crow

Zaha Hadid Architects:

Messner, the first person to climb all 14 mountains around the world over 8,000 meters, and the first to climb Mount Everest without the aid of tanked oxygen, conveys his vision for the MMM Corones: “Kronplatz offers views beyond the borders of South Tyrol to all points of the compass: from the Lienz Dolomites in the east to the Ortler in the west, from the Marmolada Glacier in the south to the Zillertal Alps in the north. The museum is a mirror of the world of my childhood – the Geislerspitzen, the central buttress of the Heiligkreuzkofel (the most difficult climb in my whole life) and the glaciated granite mountains of the Ahrn Valley. 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.”

Messner-Mountain-Museum-Corones-By-Zaha-Hadid-Architects-35-Werner-Huthmacher-800x1200 Messner Mountain Museum Corones / Zaha Hadid Architects

© Werner Huthmacher

Zaha Hadid explains the concept of the 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.”

In 2003, the Concordia 2000 Peace Bell was the first cultural installation to join the sports and recreational amenities at the summit of Mount Kronplatz, which include facilities for hang-gliding and paragliding, the Kron and Gipfel Restaurants, a replica of a Native American settlement, as well as the summit stations of the Kronplatz 2000 cable-car to Riscone/Reischach, the Olang cable- car to Valdaora, and the Ruis cable-car to San Vigilio. The Mountain Museum will welcome visitors throughout the year to explore Messner’s world where humanity is pushed to its limits, adding a further cultural and educational institution to Mount Kronplatz.

Messner-Mountain-Museum-Corones-By-Zaha-Hadid-Architects-39-Hufton_Crow-759x796 Messner Mountain Museum Corones / Zaha Hadid Architects

© Hufton + Crow

Reinhold Messner’s vision for a museum of submerged into the peak of Mount Kronplatz detailed three very specific locations of where the museum should emerge from ground: “In the first, a window looking out southwest to the peak of the Peitlerkofel mountain, in the second, another window should look south toward the Heiligkreuzkofel peak, in the third, a balcony should face west to the Ortler and South Tyrol.”

Informed by the shards of rock and ice of the surrounding landscape, concrete canopies have been cast in-situ and rise from the ground to protect the museum’s entrance, viewing windows and terrace.

Messner-Mountain-Museum-Corones-By-Zaha-Hadid-Architects-46-Hufton_Crow-759x760 Messner Mountain Museum Corones / Zaha Hadid Architects

© Hufton + Crow

Reflecting the lighter colours and tones of the jagged limestone peaks of the surrounding Dolomites, the exterior panels are formed from a lighter shade of glass-reinforced fibre concrete and fold within the museum to meet the darker interior panels that have the luster and colouration of anthracite found deep below the surface.

A series of staircases, like waterfalls in a mountain stream, cascade through the museum to connect the exhibition spaces and describe visitors’ circulation over three levels. At the lowest level, visitors pass the viewing windows as they traverse through the galleries to emerge out onto the terrace that projects 6m from the mountainside giving a 240 degree panorama across the Alps.

Messner-Mountain-Museum-Corones-By-Zaha-Hadid-Architects-49-flickr-Simone-Calo-759x759 Messner Mountain Museum Corones / Zaha Hadid Architects

© flickr-Simone Calo

At 1,000 square meters, the museum is arranged over several levels to reduce its footprint. During construction, 4,000 cubic meters (140,000 cubic feet) of earth and rock was excavated and then replaced above and around the completed structure – immersing the museum within Mount Kronplatz and helping to maintain a more constant internal temperature. The wide windows allow natural light to penetrate deep within the museum, drawing visitors forward through the interior to the panoramic windows and viewing terrace cantilevered over the valley far below.

Constructed from in-situ reinforced concrete, the museum‘s structure has walls between 40-50cm, while its roof supporting the replaced earth and rock that embeds the museum into the mountain, is up to 70cm thick.

Messner-Mountain-Museum-Corones-By-Zaha-Hadid-Architects-63-Hufton_Crow-759x394 Messner Mountain Museum Corones / Zaha Hadid Architects

© Hufton + Crow

The 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 panels that convey the rock and ice formations of the surrounding landscape. Almost 400 internal and external panels were prefabricated, with the more complex curved elements created in a process of spraying layers of high-performance fibre-concrete into moulds carved from CNC-milled foam using the architect‘s 3D model.

A scaffold of steel sections with adjustable brackets to offset tolerances forms the museum’s substructure. Counter-plates for the connecting brackets are laminated directly within each panel during the prefabrication process.

Messner-Mountain-Museum-Corones-By-Zaha-Hadid-Architects-71-MMM-Corones-759x505 Messner Mountain Museum Corones / Zaha Hadid Architects

© MMM Corones

Project Data:

Project name: Messner Mountain Museum Corones
Location: Mareo, Bolzano, South Tyrol, Italy
Coordinates: 46.736547, 11.953580
Type: Museum
Gross Floor Area: 1,000 sqm
Elevation: 2,275 m
Annual CO2 emissions: approx. 15 Kg/m²
Project Year: June 2013 – July 2015
Status: Built
Completion Year: 2015
Opening Date: July 23, 2015
Visit Messner Mountain Museum Corones’s website: here


  • 2016 – Blueprint Awards – Category: Best Public-Use Project / Privately Funded – Winner
  • 2016 – The American Institute of Architect (AIA Awards) – AIA UK Chapter Award – Winner
  • 2016 – Architizer A+ Awards – Typology Categories: Cultural > Museum – Popular Choice Winner

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Kronplatz
Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects – Studio London, 10 Bowling Green Lane, London, United Kingdom

Project Team:

  • Design: Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher
  • Project Architect: Cornelius Schlotthauer
  • Design Team: Cornelius Schlotthauer, Peter Irmscher
  • Execution Team: Peter Irmscher, Markus Planteu, Claudia Wulf


  • Structural analysis, construction management, local planning: IPM
  • Planning: Jud & Partner, Geom. Palfrader Helmuth
  • Structural engineering: Brunner & Leiter
  • Electrical engineering planning: Studio GM


  • Builder: Skirama
  • Heating and sanitary facilities: Termotecnica Kastlunger
  • Building acoustics: le-acoustic
  • Concrete work: B&T Bau & Technologie GmbH
  • Carriage: Profanter
  • Floor: Bodenservice
  • Stairlift: Kronlift
  • Interior doors: Rubner Türen
  • Cleaning: S.R.D. G.m.b.H. – s.r.l.
  • Illumination: ZG Lighting Srl socio unico
  • Geology: Bodennah
  • Ventilation systems: Weger Walter
  • Electrical systems: Elpo Gmbh
  • Master builder: Kargruber & Stoll
  • Surveying: Oswald Reier
  • Structure: Stahlbau Pichler
  • Waterproofing of roofs: Graber Hermetique
  • Carpenter: Möbel Mareo KG
  • Painter – Stuccoworker: Moling Alberto Srl
  • Timelapse: MOVI

Text Description: © Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects, MMM Corones
Images: © Zaha Hadid Architects, Harald Wisthaler, MMM Corones, Hufton + Crow,  Werner Huthmacher, inexhibit.com, Luke Hayes, wisthater.com, flickr-Simone Calo, flickr-sangiovese, flickr-Federico Pelloni


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