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    Picture: moka-studio and Snøhetta

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    Picture: moka-studio and Snøhetta

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    Picture: moka-studio and Snøhetta

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    Picture: moka-studio and Snøhetta

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    Picture: moka-studio and Snøhetta

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    Picture: moka-studio and Snøhetta

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The iceman cometh to Italy

Jez Abbott
29 Mar 2019

Design references a 3,500-year old mummy

Architects have envisioned a new home for a mythical iceman on the Virgl Mountain in northern Italy.

Snøhetta’s proposal for a new Museum Quarter in Bolzano will give 'Ötzi the Iceman' a new home overlooking the South Tyrolean capital of Bolzano in Northern Italy.

The 5,300-year old glacier mummy is a renowned archaeological sensation, as the ice preserved the prehistoric man at an elevation of 3,210 meters.

Together with the planned Bolzano cable car structure, also designed by Snøhetta, the new Museum Quarter on top of the Virgl mountain will serve as a terrace for the city’s inhabitants.

The quarter is intended to accommodate spaces for the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology and the Municipal Museum of Bolzano as well as exhibition spaces for Ötzi the Iceman.

The Virgl has always been an important site for the South Tyrolean capital due to its cultural and historical significance, with its prehistoric and Roman traces.

Yet the steep Virgl mountain has been practically inaccessible to visitors for almost forty years, following the closing of the city’s historic funicular in 1976.

“The quarter will create a synthesis of city and nature, history and future, building and landscape, of culture, leisure and knowledge,” says Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, founding partner of Snøhetta.

The building blends into the surrounding topography and extends the mountain terrain. An elongated museum structure and ring-shaped station form an ensemble.

Arriving from the station, visitors can enter both museums through an open space on the roof and a joint foyer. The roof terrace of the station and the top of the new museum will offer views of city and landscape.

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