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The Timmelsjoch Experience Pass Museum

This faceted museum in the Alps by South Tyrolean architect Werner Tscholl is precariously cantilevered. Located along a mountain pass, the Timmelsjoch Experience Pass Museum was constructed to celebrate the road’s fiftieth anniversary. Glass covers the internal walls of the building and is faceted to resemble the inside of an icy cave.

The-Timmelsjoch-Experience-Pass-Museum-By-Werner-Tscholl-©-Eheim-01-759x501 The Timmelsjoch Experience Pass Museum / Werner Tscholl Architekt

© Eheim

“goal of the project is to the pass road over the Timmelsjoch to give a new appearance, hanging without additional “color pollution” in the. an integrated system of design elements, which includes both the necessary information, as well as the related experience factors is realized in the form of architecture-sculpture. all design- elements are on the road construction pioneer performance also with respect to the landscape and the topography of the place, and occur by means of uniform material and color adjustment in the background.” – Werner Tscholl Architekt

The-Timmelsjoch-Experience-Pass-Museum-By-Werner-Tscholl-©-Alexa-Rainer-02-759x508 The Timmelsjoch Experience Pass Museum / Werner Tscholl Architekt

© Alexa Rainer


The-Timmelsjoch-Experience-Pass-Museum-By-Werner-Tscholl-©-Eheim-02-759x495 The Timmelsjoch Experience Pass Museum / Werner Tscholl Architekt

© Eheim

The following text was provided by the museum:

After its consecration as part of the celebration of the 50-year anniversary of the Timmelsjoch High Alpine Road, the interior of the Pass Museum has now been fully completed. Situated at an elevation of 2,509 m, the new construction at the summit of the Timmelsjoch offers visitors quite an impressive sight. The museum, the foundations of which are on the North Tyrolean side but which protrudes 16 metres into South Tyrol, is housed in an “erratic boulder”.

The-Timmelsjoch-Experience-Pass-Museum-By-Werner-Tscholl-©-Alexa-Rainer-04-759x508 The Timmelsjoch Experience Pass Museum / Werner Tscholl Architekt

© Alexa Rainer

The rocks and boulders around the Timmelsjoch provided the inspiration for the museum’s design. “We didn’t want to taint the mountainsides with any additional colour. As a result of the careful integration of natural materials and colours, all the new elements take a back seat, as it were”, explains the renowned South Tyrolean architect Werner Tscholl with regard to the architectural concept. Tscholl was responsible, among other things, for breathing new life into the “Messner Mountain Museum Sigmundskron” near Bolzano.

The-Timmelsjoch-Experience-Pass-Museum-By-Werner-Tscholl-©-Alexa-Rainer-08-759x504 The Timmelsjoch Experience Pass Museum / Werner Tscholl Architekt

© Alexa Rainer

Ice Cave:

The “erratic’s” interior delivers what the Pass Museum’s exterior promises. Awaiting visitors is an “ice cave” made up of floor-to-ceiling glass formations. The historical pictures printed on the glass, (provided for the most part by Manfred Roilo), offer a striking insight into the arduous construction of the pass and the outstanding feat of achievement of the road’s pioneers. Short, easy-to-read trilingual texts take visitors on a journey through the road’s history – from the early vision, to its construction, to its opening in 1959 and to its link with South Tyrol in 1968. The historic model of the road has been recreated 1:1 and is presented in a stalagmite, a glass display case.

The-Timmelsjoch-Experience-Pass-Museum-By-Werner-Tscholl-©-Alexa-Rainer-09-759x510 The Timmelsjoch Experience Pass Museum / Werner Tscholl Architekt

© Alexa Rainer

Unimaginable in this day and age, the men completed the foundations of the 12 km-long high Alpine road by hand, stone for stone. Counter piece is a stalactite hanging from the ceiling which houses a further highlight. It exhibits the “fibula” (brooch) which was discovered near the summit and which provides evidence that people walked over the pass some 300 years before Christ.

The-Timmelsjoch-Experience-Pass-Museum-By-Werner-Tscholl-©-Eheim-05-759x458 The Timmelsjoch Experience Pass Museum / Werner Tscholl Architekt

© Eheim

Werner Tscholl Architekt:

The Timmelsjoch is the deepest, non-glaciated indentation in the main Alpine ridge between the Reschen Pass and the Brenner Pass. A road, once a mule track, links the Passeiertal valley and the Ötztal valley. Over thousands of years, unique similarities between the two valleys evolved, triumphing over the natural boundary created by the mountains.

The-Timmelsjoch-Experience-Pass-Museum-By-Werner-Tscholl-©-Alexa-Rainer-10-759x508 The Timmelsjoch Experience Pass Museum / Werner Tscholl Architekt

© Alexa Rainer

Since 2010 architectural sculptures located at several stopping places along the road, enlighten travellers about the natural surroundings, the history, the culture, the communities and the economy of the region.

The-Timmelsjoch-Experience-Pass-Museum-By-Werner-Tscholl-©-Alexa-Rainer-07-759x507 The Timmelsjoch Experience Pass Museum / Werner Tscholl Architekt

© Alexa Rainer

All together there are 5 sculptures to be explored, two on the Austrian side called walkway and smuggler and two on the Italian side of the road named telescope and garnets. On the highest point of the pass one can find the pass museum. The concrete structure on the North Tyrolean side juts out like an erratic boulder into the South Tyrolean side, underlining the cross-border nature of the Timmelsjoch Experience. The “Ice Cave” inside the museum pays tribute to the pioneers of the High Alpine Road and their remarkable accomplishment.

The-Timmelsjoch-Experience-Pass-Museum-By-Werner-Tscholl-©-Alexa-Rainer-06-759x508 The Timmelsjoch Experience Pass Museum / Werner Tscholl Architekt

© Alexa Rainer

Project Data:

Project name: The Timmelsjoch Experience Pass Museum
Location: Timmelsjoch Hochalpenstraße, 6456 Hochgurgl, Austria
Coordinates: 46.905130, 11.097327
Type: Museum
Project Year: 2010

The people:

Architects: Werner Tscholl Architekt – Mühlweg, 11, 39021 Morter, Bozen, Italy
Text Description: © Courtesy of Werner Tscholl Architekt, The Timmelsjoch Experience Pass Museum
Images: © Alexa Rainer, Eheim

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The Timmelsjoch Experience Pass Museum / Werner Tscholl Architekt
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