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South Tyrol’s alpine capital of Bolzano, known for its medieval castles, cobbled streets and historical ambience of times past is set to become an emblem of the 21st century with a brand-new cultural hub and cable car system, allowing access to the altitudinous pleasures of Virgl Mountain in the Dolomites.
An international design competition was launched to facilitate this ambitious project, a brief taken on and successfully won by Snøhetta, an international architecture, landscape architecture, interior design and brand design office based in Oslo, Norway and New York City.
With remarkable modelling by Zoa Studio, an architectural visualization company, this project has been brought to life with a combination of renderings and real-life drone, video and photography footage, showing just how architecturally startling the two semi-circular buildings will be. Plus it indicates the wealth of opportunity for interaction and cultural immersion for the community including an open-air concert hall, cafes, picnic areas, viewing platforms and a museum.
The development of Viva Virgolo will consist of two rings in bone-white, one at the base and the other forming the upper station, connected by the cable car which will bring Bolzano residents and visitors up to the visually astounding plateau, thereby connecting historic Bolzano with a modernist entranceway into the previously inaccessible mountains.
From here, the wealth of activity for the casual visitor or Bolzano resident is quite remarkable. Scale the upper ring for incredible mountain panoramas over the Trentino-Alto Adige and views over the heritage town centre of medieval Bolzano. Relax on the outdoor auditorium for a concert, pop into the restaurant for local dishes or browse stalls in the market. Importantly, Viva Virgolo will become the new home of Ötzi, a Tyrolean iceman who lived in the area 5,300 years ago, in a brand-new natural history museum which will link meaningful history in an accessible way, housed in a modernist structure.
Some may prefer to use the Bolzano’s contemporary feature as a gateway to the Dolomites with bike trails and hiking paths leading directly from the Viva Virgolo into nature. Creating a fluid mountain top plateau, this innovative and interactive space fuses the best of Bolzano: gastronomy, culture, history, music and nature. We can’t wait to see this commission take shape.