Snøhetta has designed a new Museum Quarter for Bolzano, Italy that will be home to Ötzi the Iceman. Sited atop Virgl mountain, the project would overlook the city and connect to the new Bolzano cable car. As an open landmark, the Museum Quarter was made to serve as a terrace for Bolzano. The elevated museum and park will include exhibition and collection space around the iconic 5,300-year old glacier mummy.
Designed for the Signa Group, the new Bolzano Quarter combines museum spaces for the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology and the Municipal Museum of Bolzano. It's proposed site atop the Virgl mountain is an important location for the South Tyrolean capital due to its cultural and historical significance, and with its prehistoric and Roman traces. The building was designed to blend into the surrounding topography and extend the mountain terrain. Arriving from the station, visitors can enter both museums through an open space on the roof and a joint foyer. The squared roof will act as a public space for diverse programs, from open-air markets to concerts.
“The new Museum Quarter will create a synthesis of city and nature, of history and future, of building and landscape, of culture, leisure and knowledge,” says Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Founding Partner of Snøhetta. “Visitors can meet Ötzi the Iceman, one of the most important archaeological discoveries, on top of the Virgl mountain – a place with a historic atmosphere. They will literally slip under the skin of the mountain, entering it to see the Iceman. In addition, the new Virgl cable car system and the Museum Quarter will provide spaces of cultural significance and recreational value next to the city center of Bolzano”.
The project centers on Ötzi the Iceman, who was preserved in ice at an elevation of 3,210 meters. In 1991, Ötzi was found with his clothing and equipment still intact, providing a unique glimpse into the life of a man of the Copper Age. 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 Museum Quarter aims to establish an open landmark for Bolzano and reinforce the city’s international significance as a cultural destination.