On Dec. 1st, Zaha Hadid Puts the Fun Back in Funicular

Go over to your Stendig wall calendar and draw a swervy modernist shape around December 1st, because that’s the official opening date for Zaha Hadid Architects‘ newest project, the firm has just told us. No, it’s not shoes or perfume, it’s the Nordpark Cable Railway in Innsbruck, Austria, and just looking at the above photo of it makes us want to place a giant order with Gorsuch (Zai skis? Check! Rainbow parka? Check!) and evaluate the relative benefits of attending Innsbruck’s annual Krampus run in lieu of Art Basel in Miami.

As for the project, a days-away-from-completion funicular railway will join the center of Innsbruck with the Hungerburg station, which is among the four 80-year-old stations that Hadid has replaced with shiny, sculptural ones topped with lightweight roof shells of laminated glass that float on top of concrete plinths (the other three are Congress, Alpenzoo, and Lowenhaus). Laminated glass was chosen not only for its transparency but also so that the stations would blend seamlessly into the landscape. According to project manager Thomas Vietzke, “Looking at the roof shell’s fluid shapes and soft contours, one might be reminded of natural phenomena such as glacier movements.”

The uniquely routed trains zoom across the Inn River via a suspension bridge and continue partly through tunnels, partly out in the open. Sounds like another Hadid project that’s sure to stop ’em in their tracks.