All images © San Vigilio – Associazione Turistica
Located the summit plateau of Plan De Corones in the Italian Alps, the sixth and final museum dedicated to the career of Reinhold Messner has been completed by Zaha Hadid Architects. Named ‘MMM Corones’, the institution, which is now open to the public, explores the discipline of mountain climbing through a unique collection of photographs and various items collected by Messner during his lifetime as an explorer. Messner is acclaimed for making the first ascent of mount everest without supplemental oxygen, (along with Austrian mountaineer Peter Habeler), and for being the first climber to complete all fourteen ‘Eight-thousanders’ (peaks at least 8,000 meters above sea level).
Taking nearly two years to complete, the concrete structure is buried within the mountain’s summit. A singular entrance leads guests inside underground gallery spaces, before three volumes protrude at the rear of the design, offering impressive views over the alpine landscape. Internally, Reinhold Messner was given free reign to design the museum spaces, explaining: ‘at the MMM Corones, I recount the history and development of modern mountain climbing, from the equipment and its transformation over the last 250 years, to the triumphs and tragedies of the world’s most famous mountains — the Matterhorn, Cerro Torre, K2. It is unbelievably exciting to tell stories from a stage of this magnitude.’
Systems of cascading staircases characterize the interiors and create dynamic volumes of circulation throughout three levels of temporary exhibition space, themed presentations, and a small auditorium. Glazed apertures are oriented so that interiors are predominantly sunlit while still welcoming the presence of the rocky and bucolic surroundings. In addition, the total immersion of the built form into the mountain allows the museum to maintain an almost constant internal temperature.