Traditional alpinism: permanent exhibition
The supreme discipline of mountaineering
MMM Corones, situated on the summit plateau of Kronplatz (2,275 m), is dedicated to traditional mountaineering, which has strongly influenced – and has been strongly influenced by – Reinhold Messner. The museum is devoted to mountain history and also offers unique views of the great mountain walls of the Dolomites and the Alps. At the edge of the most magnificent viewing platform in South Tyrol, in the distinctive museum building created by Zaha Hadid, the view goes 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 in the south to the Zillertal Alps in the north.
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, I present the crowning of traditional mountaineering.
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 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 the depiction of our activity, however contradictory it may seem. As in my other museums, I shed light on alpinism with the help of relics, thoughts, works of art (pictures and sculptures) and by reflecting the outside mountain backcloth in the interior of MMM Corones.
As the storyteller of traditional mountaineering, it is not my intention to judge or dramatise but simply to condense human experience of a world that is my world, of the 250-year-old contest between man and the mountain. The focus is not on sport and records but on people, on the key contributors to mountaineering, including philosophers and pioneers who had the courage to take the ‘golden step’ from the idea to the deed, disregarding the question “Why?”
“Corones” is the Ladin word for “crown”, like “Krone” in German. And Kronplatz – South Tyrol’s famous mountain for skiers and hikers and a perfect launchpad for hanggliders and paragliders – is now home to the crowning piece of my mountain museum project, a place of quiet where people can slow down and enjoy unforgettable views. It is a place of withdrawal that opens up the human senses for the above and beyond, where the mountains become an experiential space and a part of our culture. In mental flights beyond all summits, they are revealed anew.
History & architecture
The view from Kronplatz is one of the most beautiful in the Alps: from the Dolomites over the Puster Valley to the Zillertal Alps. The mountain also stands at the meeting point of the three South Tyrolean cultures – German, Ladin and Italian. In winter Kronplatz is South Tyrol’s most popular ski destination; in summer, however, it attracts only a few tourists. The idea of a viewing platform was born as a way to revitalise the plateau in the warmer months and ensure a more sustainable use of the lifts.
Reinhold Messner heard of this idea, and proposed a cultural revaluation: a place of quiet, a place to slow down, a refuge and a realm of experience as an antidote to the existing “sporting hype”. A museum devoted to traditional alpinism, as the coronation (corones in Ladin means “crown”) of his museum structure. The Skirama Kronplatz not only immediately agreed, but was also able to persuade no less than the architectural studio of Zaha Hadid to take on the project. South Tyrol’s famous mountain for skiers and hikers – also a perfect launch pad for hanggliders and paragliders – thus became a museum mountain.
The first structure built to parametric standards in South Tyrol therefore stands on a mountain peak. Hadid was known for her free-form architecture, based on digital design techniques. Nature and environment play a decisive role, with the architectural forms seeming to blend into the surroundings. This is why concrete was chosen as the material for the exterior and the interior cladding, as no other material lends itself so well to casting in so many forms. It also best fits the topic of rock, both as regards look and feel. The colour of the concrete and the building itself – for the most part built underground in order to intrude as little as possible upon the landscape and to avoid further construction on the peak – fit naturally into the surrounding mountain landscape.