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Into Thin Air

tyrol outlook

I'm a fan of heights. I love expansive views, tall buildings, and the back row of the balcony. But even I get an attack of dizzy looking at the new mountain-top viewing platform located on top of a glacier in Tyrol, Austria. Not only is it 3200 meters up, overlooking the alps, the platform is built ON SNOW. Oh hi, vertigo? It's me.

tyrol outlook

Built by the design team Astearchitecture, the platform, situated at the summet of Großer Isidor, in Stubaier-Gletscher, projects the visitors 9 meters out from the edge of the montain. (Gulp). That sounds like…fun? Hang on a second, I'm sweating.

tyrol outlook

The trail and the platform are firmly anchored in the brittle rock of the mountain, but the supporting lamellae of the structure will disappear in the snow for six months of the year. As the architects themselves put it, “The platform is built in permafrost,” a prospect that I find chilling. (Couldn't help myself, sorry!)

tyrol outlook

 So, the appearance of outlook will change as wind and sun, snow and
time alternately expose and cover up aspects of the steel structure to create a dialogue between the existing topography and the created structure. All the assemblage was done via helicopter (!!) so a maximum amount of prefabrication was necessary in order for the all the elements to come together perfectly at 3200m.

tyrol outllook

Yet in spite of the vertigo, the blowing snow and frigid temperatures, visitors still brave the 3200m tall summit, to walk 9 meters out past the edge for a glimpse of the fascinating view. Been-Seen, indeed.  MR


Images courtesy of Astearchitecture



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  • Roshan

    November 20, 2008

    This is amazing, but what compels humans to build gravity-defying structures like these? It’s like getting a one-up on mother nature. So you think your mountain range is breathtaking… see what I can stick on top of it!

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