Skip to content

Zaha Hadid Architects

Your Starred Items

Archive Search
Your Starred Items


Nordpark Railway Stations

  • Innsbruck, Austria
  • 2004 – 2007
  • INKB (Innsbrucker Nordkettenbahnen GmbH) Public Private Partnership
  • Built
  • 2500m2

‘Shell & Shadow’: a unique architectural language of fluidity inspired by natural ice formations, for stations along Innsbruck’s northern chain of mountains. Lightweight organic roof structures float on concrete plinths, their soft shapes and contours creating an artificial landscape that describes the movement and circulation within.

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.


Zaha Hadid Architects


Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher

Project Architect

Thomas Vietzke

Production Team

Production Team: Caroline Andersen, Makakrai Suthadarat, Marcela Spadaro, Anneka Wagener, Adriano di Gionnis, PeterPichler, Susann Berggren

Local Partner Office/ Building Management

Malojer Baumanagement GmbH & Co

Façade Planning

Pagitz Metalltechnik GmbH

Total Contractor


Engines / Cable Contractor


Planning Advisor

ILF Beratende Ingenieure ZT, Malojer Baumanagement GmbH

Structural Engineers

Baumann & Obholzer Ziviltechniker (concrete base), Bollinger Grohmann Schneider ZT (roof structure)

Bridge Engineers

ILF Beratende Ingenieure ZT Gesellschaft GmbH


Zumbotel Lighting GmBH