At 10,666 feet above sea level, the newly constructed Iceman Ötzi Peak observation deck provides nature-lovers with a stunning vantage point of the Italian Alps at the peak of the Schnals Valley Glacier ridge in South Tyrol. Designed by Network of Architecture (noa*), the sculptural viewing platform is built of weathered steel and elegantly engineered for minimal impact, resulting in a structure that appears to blend in with and float above the landscape. The 80-square-meter viewing platform was recently completed last month for the Hotel Grawand, a unique, high-altitude hotel that is just a stone’s throw away from the summit.
The Iceman Ötzi Peak is named after Europe’s oldest known natural human mummy, the Iceman Ötzi, whose mummified body was found nearby and is now on display at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano. In addition to providing breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountains, the undulating viewing platform also pays further homage to Ötzi with a geometric funnel cut into the observation deck that frames views of where Ötzi was found. The funnel is capped with a glass railing to give users the thrilling sensation of walking on air.
The lightweight viewing platform was designed to only touch the ground where necessary to limit visual and environmental impact, and it follows the natural topography. Weathered steel was selected as the primary material for its durability and its patina, which turns dark brown, gray and black over time to gradually blend in with the surroundings.
“The parapet-high, vertical elements trace these gentle curves in their sequence,” the architects explained. “This creates a magical effect: an opening and closing of views that follows the movement of the viewer — an invitation to discover new perspectives time and again. This unique dynamic creates a fully immersive, sensual experience in which time stands still for a moment and every other souvenir is eclipsed.”
Photography by Alex Filz via noa*