Under an icy Roof

Under an icy Roof

Hungerburg railway

Overcoming the altitude difference of 288 meters with the new Hungerburg railway is like a trip through the mind of Zaha Hadid.

Building new Hungerburg railway in Innsbruck has been discussed already since the 1940s. Finally, in 2007, the time had come. The new train to Hungerburg was inaugurated. Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid had won the respective contest.

Before the old, listed train had to make way for the new one, there were massive protests by the locals along with the demand for a referendum. However, the ones in charge refused, so new Hungerburg train had to hold its ground against the concerns of the opposition.

The supporters made a few points making a new railway necessary. The prestigious project mainly had to meet tourist-related purposes, according to the main idea, apart from that, the train was supposed to be a crucial and comfortable (and environment-friendly) connection between Innsbruck downtown and the terrain high up in the Alps. The railway was also a means to increase the number of visitors of the Alpine zoo.

Inspired by Glaciers

Zarah Hadid presented her design with shapes inspired  by glaciers, with unusual lines that are typical for her. New Hungerburg railway connects Innsbruck downtown with the quarter of Hungerburg through an only 8 minute ride. The track has four stops – Congress, Löwenhaus, Alpenzoo and Hungerburg – all designed by Hadid.

The track starts with the centrally located congress building and overcomes, below ground, the first altitude difference to Löwenhaus. River Inn is crossed with a 242 long slant steel rope bridge, also designed by Hadid, supporting the architectural concept.

According to Zaha Hadid, the station building’s architecture is based on the regional landscape phenomenon of icy and snowy sceneries. The building plays with the contrast  between massive fair-faced concrete and an innovative  shell structure of milky-white glass. The organic and overhanging roof elements seem to float above the earthed concrete, since they hardly touch the ground. In order to let the shapes appear so light and ephemeral, an innovative steel-aluminum substructure has been developed.

Realized with innovative Technology

A peculiarity of the construction is the building shell made of thermally shaped glass. The all in all more than 1,100 individual elements of plain float glass were manufactured in China and attached to the substructure on location. Since conventional attachment methods could not be deployed due to the complex geometry, a method of its own was developed, tailor-made for this project. Pecondition for the construction was, among other things, the requirement of non-visible connections and the existing, very different geometry of the individual elements.

Standardized metal stripes were attached to the glass panes. These, in turn, were screwed onto the digitally CNC-made and individual PE pofiles, sitting on the steel bulkheads of the supporting structure. The joints were left open for building physical reasons. On the roof tops, the individual elements were sealed in a permanently elastic manner.

The glass was coated on the inside with a light green, opaque coating, this way it looks like ice. And indeed, the building’s architecture seems to be melting into its surroundings, especially when the land is covered with ice and snow. Only the dark, striking joints seem to not match the otherwise discreet surface, although they are definitely required due to the way the building is constructed, they also make the geometry of the individual elements understandable.

Here, Zaha Hadid has created a holistic concept, turning the ride with the Hungerburg railway into a special architectural event. The unusual architecture will certainly be an eye-catcher, giving Innsbruck another architectural highlight.


Project details


Zaha Hadid Architects


Year of construction: 2007


Altitude difference: 288m
Altitude base station: 569 m
Altitude top station: 857 m


ARGE Nordkettenbahn


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jstatham049's picture
jstatham049 13. November 2014 - 11:35

The unusual architecture will certainly be an eye-catcher, giving Innsbruck another architectural highlight....More Bonuses

jstatham049's picture
jstatham049 19. November 2014 - 6:43

will certainly be an eye-catcher, giving Innsbruck another architectural highlight.Free PDF Links

valyspin's picture
valyspin 3. December 2014 - 9:45

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maz.jecky.3's picture
maz.jecky.3 18. December 2014 - 6:25

Zarah Hadid presented her design with shapes inspired by glaciers, with unusual lines that are typical for her. New Hungerburg railway connects Innsbruck downtown with the quarter of Hungerburg through an only 8 minute ride. The track has four stops – Congress, Löwenhaus, Alpenzoo and Hungerburg – all designed by Hadid. Sbobet, Ibcbet, Agen Bola Sbobet, Agen Sbobet , P0ker Online , Idrpkr.com Agen Texas P0ker dan Domino Online Indonesia Terpercaya

antonovici's picture
antonovici 22. December 2014 - 14:53

Zaha is an amazing architect who really knows how to bring something interesting out of a dull building or how to build something in a place that apparently has no potential. When it comes to working with hard materials such as metal, there are only a few people who really know how to use them in order to achieve something great. The guys from Carport are really good at this and you should check them out.

valyspin's picture
valyspin 2. February 2015 - 11:29

These constructions are rare to see, for instance, this one is amazing, unique and you can tell that many efforts were made to create this architecture and design. Also, if you take a look at http://www.aduinitconstruction.com/ you will see the professional work of these roofers. They don't only offer roof repairs and deck waterproofing and water repelling services, but also superior renovation services for anyone from the San Diego area.

billmarket17's picture
billmarket17 26. February 2015 - 15:17

This is a spectacular roof, but for certain, it was very difficult to build. Also, such a roof is not suitable for a home, school or even a public governmental institution. Instead, with the metal beams in Sacramento someone can build a strong, resistant roof, which may last a long period of time without damage over time.

prabirbanik82's picture
prabirbanik82 12. March 2015 - 11:24

This design does look awesome and it simply blends with the nature in the background. However, to create such innovative design in your house it would be better to hire a good roofing contractor. However, if your roof needs any repairing then you should approach Kenneco Roofing, the best Albuquerque roof repair contractor company.

prabirbanik82's picture
prabirbanik82 30. March 2015 - 11:42

This roof looks absolutely spectacular and it does look like a glacier. However, if you too want to create an offbeat look in your roof then you have to contact a good roofing contractor. But along with making your home beautiful you also have to make it clean as well and for this you should hire The Champagne Services which you can find at http://www.champagneservices.com/traditional-cleaning-services/.

valyspin's picture
valyspin 4. May 2015 - 8:51

The roof has a great, unique design! You don't see so often such a great architecture because people aren't so concerned about how their building's roof look like as long as it is built well. But some professional commercial roofing services are careful at this detail, as well, especially if the building is placed in a crowded area and its appearance really matters.

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stevensmithccs's picture
stevensmithccs 30. October 2015 - 5:43

All praise to the mastermind, architect Zaha Hadid, who designed such an amazing Icy Roof. He has shown us newcomers that creativity knows no boundaries. Recording Studio Window If you have set you mind on something – go get it done, no matter what.