Snøhetta has unveiled the proposal for the new Museum Quarter in Bolzano, that will be home to Ötzi the Iceman — a 5,300-year old ice preserved glacier mummy who was found in 1991 with his clothing and equipment still intact. The distinctive building is intended to be located on top of the prominent Virgolo/Virgl mountain, overlooking the South Tyrolean capital in Northern Italy.
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. As a new landmark for the area, this elevated public space will still be perceived as being part of the city given its proximity to the center of Bolzano and the accessible cable car connection. The Museum Quarter is intended to accommodate museum spaces for the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology and the Municipal Museum of Bolzano as well as exhibition spaces for Ötzi the Iceman.
The building blends into the surrounding topography and extends the mountain terrain. Together, the elongated museum structure and the 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 Quarter building will provide magnificent views of the city and the surrounding landscape, serving as both a meeting point and an arena. The squared roof will act as a vibrant public space, useable for a multitude of activities – from open-air markets to concerts. The surrounding landscape will be developed for leisure activities such as walking, hiking or biking.
Through the planned cable car structure and the new Museum Quarter, the Virgl mountain will serve as a cultural and recreational area for the people and visitors of Bolzano. The new Museum Quarter will establish a new landmark for Bolzano and reinforce the city’s international significance as a cultural destination.