Monday, 14 April 2008

Zaha Hadid in Innsbruck

Just returned from our annual trip to the Mother Land
and took the opportunity on the only rainy day we had to visit Zaha Hadid's older and newer designs in Innsbruck. We started with the refurbishment of the ski jump on Bergisel in 2001 with it's wonderful restaurant set 40 metres over the peak atop the ski jump.

The ski jump is very dramatic and how anyone launches themselves down this sheer drop is a mystery. All of those who sniggered at Eddie the Eagle should think again. To make matters worse the view directly down from the top of the jump is of a grave yard. Rumour has it that the Austrians did this on purpose to unsettle opposition jumping teams!

The restaurant itself is beautifully designed with amazing views over Innsbruck and the mountains all around. Decor is very simple with stylish stools, chairs and tables and the odd splash of lime green - which works surprisingly well.

Last year Zaha Hadid designed four stations along the funicular railway leading up to the Hungerberg (Nordkette) - the highest station being at 863 metres high. Each station is differently designed but all are made from beautifully tactile and smooth green glass pieced liked large tiles into organic forms.

The station at the top is the most spectacular - here it is in the mist looking pretty atmospheric.

It was wonderful to see such original and inspired work amongst the traditional beauty of Austrian buildings. They work very well. I hope that they survive as well as they deserve to - some of the glass is already colouring and the black 'grout' is peeling!

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