The Timmelsjoch experience

Werner Tscholl re-qualifies the alpine road between North Tyrol and South Tyrol

by Malcolm Clark
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In 2009 North Tyrol and South Tyrol undertook a joint project of redeveloping the alpine road of Timmelsjoch or Passo del Rombo in Italian, the panoramic route created in the 1960's on the South Tyrolean side, where there was once an ancient military road.

After a preparatory phase lasting two years, a common interregional project was defined for which 5 sculptural volumes were created in different stopping places along the road, with alternating presence on the Austrian and Italian side.

On the highest point of the pass, there is the The Timmelsjoch experience, designed by architect Werner Tscholl. The concrete structure, made by subtraction from the external form, juts out onto the South Tyrol side like an erratic boulder, highlighting the cross-boarder character of the Passo del Rombo. The "ice cave" inside the museum pays tribute to the pioneers of the alpine road and to their accomplishments. This look-out structure overlooking the Alps, partially suspended in empty space, is open at both ends.

The same criteria as those followed for the road works are valid for the construction of all the stations which have the job of providing information of various kinds to passing tourists. No form of colour pollution has been envisaged on the peaks of Timmelsjoch. All the new elements blend in with the landscape in terms of materials and colours chosen so that they are unobtrusive. In order to communicate the required information and content, a homogeneous system of structural elements containing didactic and informative aspects are used. All the structural elements contain references to the landscape and topography of the places, like panoramic views –stopping points–benches, telescopic view, rocks–boulder falls, hairpin bends–stone posts–crash barriers, explorers-observation decks or even smugglers–mule tracks. In order to integrate these concepts within architectural elements, an artistic approach has been chosen. In this way a sort of architectural sculpture will be obtained. First of all there must be the stimulating force of emotions”, this is how the architect Werner Tscholl explained the driving force behind his project a while back.

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    Pass Museum

    Moso In Passiria / Italy / 2010