New ‘Floating’ Viewing Platform Perched High Above the Italian Alps Blends Modernism With Minimalist Sensibility

Alex Filz/Courtesy Network Of Architecture

You can see Austria while in Italy.

Get ready to add a new location to your bucket list. A viewing platform just opened that was built on the peak of Schnals Valley Glacier ridge in South Tyrol, Italy, and it's an architectural masterpiece.

Ötzi Peak 3251m is perched over 10,600 feet (3,251 meters) above sea level and has incredible panoramic views of Italy, the Alps, and even Austria in the distance. It's near Hotel Grawand, which is believed to be the highest hotel in Europe, and was built to provide guests of the unique property with a one-of-a-kind attraction. 

Alex Filz/Courtesy Network Of Architecture

The build and vision were thanks to architecture studio Network of Architecture, who opted to use weathering steel and have as minimal contact with the ground as possible. So, the platform appears to float above the rocky ridge below. 

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"The surrounding nature, its texture, and its feeling has induced us to choose a material that reflects those characteristics best," architect Andreas Profanter told Dezeen. "Corten steel has the unique attribute to change over time, and it evolves depending on the environmental conditions. In doing so, it resembles the never-ending transformation of the glacier itself."

Alex Filz/Courtesy Network Of Architecture

Visitors must climb a set of stairs before reaching the circular platform to take in the views. There are also glass balustrades that jut out over the ridge, providing unobstructed glacier vistas. 

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Of course, building this modern yet minimalist attraction was no easy feat. "Building at 3,251 meters of altitude is not a standardized process," said Profanter. "The harsh environmental conditions as well as the exposed building site are factors that pose a series of limitations not only to the material, and hence the structure of the platform, but also to the workers and the technical gear.

Alex Filz/Courtesy Network Of Architecture

He added, "Every detail of the platform had to be drawn out with the fabrication, transportation, and assembly process in mind. But it was a special challenge that we were glad to accept."