Architects must be up for a challenge nowadays; Here’s the second precarious-looking structure I’ve seen go up in the Alps in the last month. The Timmelsjoch Experience Pass Museum, designed by South Tyrolean architect Werner Tscholl, is definitely a stunner, but it was built for one of the most arbitrary reasons I think I’ve ever heard: to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the road it teeters over.
Granted, this is no ordinary road. The Timmelsjoch Pass cuts through the Alps along the Austrian/Italian border. Rising to 10,000 feet, building anything up there is a feat; Can you imagine trucking construction materials back and forth along those sharp switchbacks? As you might imagine, this isn’t a museum with rotating exhibitions. Its sole purpose is to pay homage to the pass itself. There’s a model of the pass in a single glass display case planted in the center of the one-room museum. There’s also some information behind the faceted glass walls, designed to echo the structure of the one of several icy caves nearby.
Tscholl was a natural pick for this project given his origins as well as his propensity for designing buildings that often jut out precariously over steep edges. Many of his projects are situated in remote locations, which means he’s used probably used to low turnouts sat his unveilings. This is a good thing because I’ve got a feeling The Timmelsjoch Experience Pass Museum is going to hit a new low on the list of annual visitors.