The brief called for the design of four stations along cable railway tracks leading to Innsbruck’s northern chain of mountains. Each station had its own unique context, topography, altitude and circulation and adaptation to these specific site conditions was critical to the design approach – while maintaining a coherent overall architectural language.
We studied natural phenomena such as glacial moraines and ice movements to develop a fluid language of natural ice formations, like a frozen stream on the mountainside.
By applying a high degree of flexibility within this architectural language, we were able to adjust the shell structures to the stations’ variable parameters, whilst upholding their position within the same formal family.
These lightweight, organic roof structures ‘floating’ on top of concrete plinths provide the global benchmark for the use of double-curvature glass in construction. Exploring the concept of lightness, large cantilevers and small touch-down areas underpin the shells’ floating appearance.
New production methods such as CNC milling and thermoforming guaranteed a very precise translation of the computer generated design into the built structure.
These state-of-the art design and manufacturing technologies developed for the automotive industry were used to create the streamlined aesthetics for each station. In fact, the results are reminiscent of streamlined industrial design pieces, from car bodies to yachts and aeroplane wings.
The railway reflects Innsbruck’s commitment to the highest standards of architecture and pushes the boundaries of design and construction.