Museum Quarter and Multifunctional Complex on the MOUNT VIRGL | The Plan
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Museum Quarter and Multifunctional Complex on the MOUNT VIRGL

Landscape and the City


The Mount Virgl is a rocky cliff on the northern face of Monte Pozza, near Bolzano, northern Italy. A majestic green area rising to an altitude of 453 m, it has historically been a key site for the city due to its cultural and historical significance, with prehistoric and Roman traces, including, of course, Ötzi the Iceman, or Similaun Man. Unfortunately, ever since the closure of its historic funicular, Mount Virgl has been practically inaccessible to the general public. To remedy this mobility gap and integrate the surrounding landscape with the city below, Signa Group hosted an international design competition in 2015, which was awarded to Snøhetta. The project consists of two parts: the cable car structures and the multifunctional museum area. Both aim to create a productive synergy between the historic city and the surrounding landscape, bringing out the beauty and complexity of the site. The result is an amalgam of architecture and its surroundings that encompasses culture, leisure, and knowledge. The cable car system is made of two ring-shaped structures - the base station at the city level, and a second station at the top of the mountain linked to the museum. The structures frame each other through their central openings, further amplifying the visual and spatial connections. In practical terms, the cable car will take its passengers to the top of Mount Virgl in little more than a minute, making it five minutes away from the historic center of Bolzano. The museum quarter, on the other hand, grows out of the mountain itself, creating a seamless transition into the existing landscape. Extending the mountain terrain, it creates a dialogue with the ring-shaped station and the city below. The museum will be the new home for Ötzi the Iceman - an internationally renowned archaeological sensation - along with other museum spaces for the South Tyrol Museum and the Municipal Museum of Bolzano. Both structures will have strategic vantage points...

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