Karwendel Nature Park has an intriguing new path combining architectural interest with the beauty of the mountain landscape. Perspektivenweg, the Path of Perspectives, is a panoramic path punctuated by ten architectural elements designed by Norwegian architectural studio Snøhetta. The ten elements are arranged along the path in strategic positions that encourage visitors to appreciate the unique features of the Alpine landscape and the spectacular Nordkette mountain chain near Innsbruck.
Nordkette is the mountain chain north of the city of Innsbruck, the biggest mountain chain in the northern limestone Alps and the southernmost of the four Karwendel mountain chains. The path combining architecture with the mountain landscape begins at the Hungerburg cable railway with its four stations designed by Zaha Hadid in 2007, and Nordkettenbahn station, designed by famous Tyrolean architect Franz Baumann.
The Hungerburg and Nordkette funiculars take visitors directly to Seegrube station at an elevation of 1,905 metres, where the Path of Perspectives begins, climbing 142 metres in altitude in a breath-taking Alpine landscape.
“ Do I really see something different every time I look, or do I only interpret what I see in differing ways? I am inclined to say the first. But why? Interpreting is a form of thinking, an activity; seeing is a state of mind.”
This is one of the quotes from Ludwig Wittgenstein selected by Dr. Allan Janik, one of the world’s top experts on the Austrian philosopher considered the greatest thinker of the twentieth century. The ten quotes, one for each of the architectural elements designed by Snøhetta, accompany visitors along the path, underlining points of interest and encouraging profound reflection and “new ways of looking” at the natural landscape.
Snøhetta’s little works of architecture are perfectly integrated into the spectacular natural landscape, offering visitors incredible new points of view for looking at the Alpine landscape. Every single element, from the portal to the benches, from the stairs to the Grosser Stein platform and all the others, identifies a specific observation point and marks a meeting-place and a landmark along the way, offering new experiences and underlining natural changes. The observation platform, for example, emerges out of the ground and projects the viewer into the landscape, offering an uninterrupted panoramic view of the Inn valley below. The place where the forest gives way to a stand of dwarf mountain pine is marked with a staircase-like structure. On one level, visitors can lean out a little to admire the peaks of Langer Sattel and Frau Hitt. The wooden platform of the so-called "Grosser Stein" offers hikers a place to stop and rest. Continuing along the path, slightly higher up, more wooden platforms in a step arrangement form an amphitheatre where people can sit and look out over the spectacle of nature.
The elements designed by Snøhetta are all made of corten steel and larch wood, a choice dictated by the need to blend into the colours of the landscape around them, because larch is typical of local forests, and existing technical structures such as avalanche barriers made out of the same type of steel along the natural slope of the land.
Location: Innsbruck, Austria
Quotes by Ludwig Wittgenstein, curated by Prof. Allan Janik
Images courtesy of Snøhetta, photo by (1,2,5-18) Christian Flatscher, (3-4 overview) Quirin Müller.