Architecture in Tirol

Architecture in the Alps consists of bold, natural and textured buildings and materials. These buildings should functionally and aesthetically withstand rugged mountainous environments, as well as blend into the topography.

Traditionally, natural materials like wood and stone were used, and buildings had to withstand the effects of a climate that heaps snow on the roofs in winter and sends air temperatures soaring in summer. Interiors were designed with a good range of natural materials and rustic tiled stoves for that cozy feel. Nontraditional or modern designs have never necessarily been associated with the mountains, where most vacationers have assumed that their getaways resemble forest cabins or lodges. However, in the last few years, Tirol has been coming up with innovative ways to change that thinking by creating contemporary buildings that resonate with the Alpine landscape.

A New Way of Thinking

Contemporary designs have been gaining ground in many Tirol locales, from sporting venues and administrative buildings over universities and hotels to observation platforms and on-mountain restaurants–all over the country, more and more buildings speak the visual language of the 21st century international style. An innovative architecture scene and courageous public and private clients encouraged and supported high-quality mountain architecture and well-composed design, allowing sculptural, contemporary, and site-specific architecture to be created. Among them architectural highlights and landmarks designed by international star architects like Zaha Hadid and Dominique Perrault.

Spectacular Buildings

There are many examples of innovative architecture that create a stimulating contrast to the numerous historic buildings in the towns and mountains of Tirol. As a Tirolean chain of supermarkets, MPREIS calls familiar brand philosophies into question. Instead of built uniformity, its innovative creed is “variety of the architectural use of forms”: For the last twenty years, the Tirolean Supermarket Chain has commissioned a steady stream of up and coming architects to design buildings that make the most of their mountainous settings. Masterpieces of modern architecture such as the Zaha Hadid-designed stations for the Hungerburgbahn, a hybrid funicular railway in Innsbruck, and the spectacular Bergisel Ski Jump, are visual signs that Tirol’s architecture has arrived in the 21st century.

Contemporary Accommodations

Mixing the best of contemporary design with modern furnishings, Hotels and Restaurants all over Tirol put a fresh and modern spin on the typical rustic mountain experience. The Park Hotel in Hall, for example, a classic modernist building of the 1930s, was perfectly refurbished, extended and renovated in 2003. Ibis Hotel at Innsbruck Main Railroad Station, which sits atop stilts as a kind of “floating counterpart” to the station, and Schwarzer Adler Hotel in Kitzbuehel, featuring a visionary rooftop addition, can only be described as a modern take on mountain lodging. Spectacular buildings can be found atop Tirol’s highest mountains: Alongside the traditional, rustic mountain huts, an increasing number of innovative on-mountain restaurants were created, where wood, stone and other natural materials are used to reflect the beauty of the landscape.