Nordpark Cable Railway, Austrian Building, Architect, Picture, Hungerburg Funicular Design, Photos

Nordpark Cable Railway Innsbruck

Hungerburg Funicular: Innsbruck Buildings, Austria design by Zaha Hadid Architects

17 Dec 2017

Hungerburg Funicular Railway Station Buildings

Hungerburg funicular railway celebrates its 10th anniversary

Location: Innsbruck, Austria

Design: Zaha Hadid Architects

Since December 2007, over 4.5 million passengers have made more than 8 million journeys on the funicular railway between the centre of Innsbruck up the Nordkette mountain to Hungerburg. In 2017 alone, over 600,000 passengers made 2.1 million journeys on the railway and used its four stations designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA).

Hungerburg Station:
Hungerburg Station Innsbruck building
photo © Werner Hutmacher

The Hungerburg funicular (Hungerburgbahn) is part of Innsbruck’s Nordpark Cable Railway (Nordkettenbahnen) and begins at the Congress underground station in the centre of the city. Trains stop at Lowenhaus Station before crossing the bridge over the River Inn, then climbing to Alpenzoo Station and on to Hungerburg where passengers can continue their journey on the Seegrube and Hafelekar cable cars up to its summit at 2,300m.

The Nordkette mountain is within the Karwendel, the largest nature park in Austria, giving visitors to the Hafelekar fantastic 360° views of the city as well as Tyrol’s most extensive nature conservation area.

Shortlisted for the 2008 Stirling Prize by the Royal Institute of British Architects, the design of each station adapts to its own unique context, topography, altitude, and passenger circulation, with roofs that echo natural ice formations, like glaciers or frozen mountain streams.

Each station’s lightweight roof structure ‘floats’ above a concrete plinth, creating an artificial landscape that describes the passenger circulation within. When completed in 2007, the stations were the world’s largest structures using double-curved glass in construction.

Alpenzoo Station:
Alpenzoo Station Innsbruck building
photo © Helene Binet

“These railway stations and bridge are a great example of visionary technology and architecture,” said Thomas Schroll, managing director of the Nordkettenbahnen.

“The Hungerburgbahn connects the vibrant city of Innsbruck with nature and it’s stations have become an integral part of Innsbruck’s cityscape,” explained Innsbruck mayor Christine Oppitz-Plorer.

“Opening in December 2007, the four innovative Hungerburgbahn stations provide public transport for residents as well as an excursion railway for tourists. Their glacial forms and innovative design have enriched Innsbruck’s alpine character and continues to attract visitors from around the world,” said Karl Gostner, chairman of the Innsbruck Tourist Board.

Together with the contractor Strabag, ZHA won the competition to build the Hungerburgbahn in 2005. Using innovative new design and production methods that have since become mainstream – such as CNC milling, thermoforming, and computational parametric design – enabled precision in translating the fluid geometries of the design into the built structures.

Lowenhaus Station building:
Lowenhaus Station Innsbruck building
photo © Helene Binet

Starting at the almost flat gradient of the underground Congress station in the city then rising to the maximum 46° gradient of Alpenzoo Station, a new hydraulic tilting system was developed for the railway cars. This system maintains a horizontal floor surface throughout the journey to ensure passengers’ safety and comfort.

Due to its steep incline, the railway’s cable is also restrained from above to ensure it follows the gradient of the railway tracks – the first time this technology was used globally and has since been adopted by many other funicular railways worldwide.

“Hadid’s architecture is made for movement. It’s rocket-fuel stuff. She rips to shreds the old, static rules of space – walls, ceilings, front and back, right angles, the single viewpoint of Renaissance perspective – and reassembles them… The slender funicular railway emerges from Innsbruck’s chocolate-box downtown, leaps across the river and shoots up the mountain on delicate stilts at a vertiginous angle, up to 46 degrees, opening up an astonishing snow-topped Alpine panorama – a view, though, now almost matched by the artificial landscape Hadid has created to frame it.”
The Times, December 2007

Alpenzoo Station building:
Alpenzoo Station building by Zaha Hadid Architects
photo © Werner Hutmacher

The Hungerburgbahn is the second project by ZHA in Innsbruck. The Bergisel Ski Jump completed in 2002 and was awarded the Gold Medal for Design by the International Olympic Committee in 2005. Its public café and viewing terrace at the top of the ski jump are easily accessed by elevators to enable everyone – not only ski-jumpers – to enjoy the spectacular views across the valley.

Innsbruck will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Hungerburgbahn with events throughout the winter including architectural tours every Tuesday at 10:30am in English and every Friday at 4:00pm in German until 6 April 2018.

Nordkette website

Previously on e-architect:

updated 3 Apr 2016

Nordpark Railway Stations (Hungerburg Station), Innsbruck:

Nordpark Railway Stations
photo : Werner Huthmacher

Nordpark Cable Railway

Date: 2007

Design: Zaha Hadid Architects

Location: Innsbruck, Austria

Nordpark Cable Railway by Zaha Hadid Architects

Stations opened by Hilde Zach, Mayor of Innsbruck

Nordpark Cable Railway Innsbruck Nordpark Cable Railway Nordpark Cable Railway Innsbruck Nordpark Cable Railway Innsbruck
photographs : Helene Binet

The Nordpark Cable Railway comprising of four new stations and a cable-stayed suspension bridge over the river Inn was opened in a ceremony at Loewenhaus Station, Rennweg, Innsbruck on 1 December 2007.

Starting at the station of Congress in the centre of the city, the railway travels to Loewenhaus station before crossing the river, ascending the Nordkette Mountain north of Innsbruck to Alpenzoo station. The final station is at Hungerburg village, 288 metres above Innsbruck, where passengers can join the cable-car to the summit of the Seegrube Mountain.

“I am absolutely delighted to be attending the opening of the Nordpark Railway” states Zaha Hadid. “It is indeed an honour to complete my second project in Innsbruck. The railway reflects the city’s continued commitment to the highest standards of architecture and pushes the boundaries of design and construction technology. These stations are the global benchmark for the use of doublecurvature glass in construction.”

Zaha Hadid Architects won the competition to create Nordpark Cable Railway in 2005 together with the contractor Strabag. The railway is the second project completed by Zaha Hadid in the city; the Bergisel Ski Jump by Hadid was completed in 2002 and awarded the Gold Medal for Design by the International Olympic Committee in 2005.

Nordpark Cable Railway Innsbruck Nordpark Cable Railway Innsbruck Nordpark Cable Railway Innsbruck Nordpark Cable Railway Innsbruck
photos : Helene Binet

Zaha Hadid explains that the design for each station adapts to the specific site conditions at various altitudes, whilst maintaining the coherent overall architectural language of fluidity. This approach was critical to the design for the railway, and demonstrates the seamless morphology of Hadid’s most recent architecture.

“Each station has its own unique context, topography, altitude, and circulation. We studied natural phenomena such as glacial moraines and ice movements – as we wanted each station to use the fluid language of natural ice formations, like a frozen stream on the mountainside.” says Hadid. “A high degree of flexibility within this language enables the shell structures to adjust to these various parameters whilst maintaining a coherent formal logic. Two contrasting elements ‘Shell & Shadow’ generate each station’s spatial quality, with lightweight organic roof structures of double-curvature glass ‘floating’ on top of concrete plinths, creating an artificial landscape that describes the movement and circulation within.”

New production methods such as CNC milling and thermoforming guaranteed a very precise and automatic translation of the computer generated design into the built structure. The architects used state-of-the-art design and manufacturing technologies developed for the automotive industry to create the streamlined aesthetics of each station.

The Nordpark Cable Railway continues Hadid’s quest for an architecture of seamless fluidity, representing Zaha Hadid Architects’ very latest contribution to the current global architectural discourse in digital design and construction.

Nordpark Cable Railway Stations – Building Information

FORM OF CONTRACT: Public Private Partnership
TOTAL COST: Undisclosed
CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS: BASE – Reinforced Concrete; STRUCTURE – Steel; CLADDING – Thermoformed Glass
CLIENT: INKB (Innsbrucker Nordkettenbahnen GmbH) Public Private Partnership

Nordpark Cable Railway Stations pictures / information from Zaha Hadid Architects 011207

Nordpark Stations design : Zaha Hadid

Nordpark Cable Railway Stations : Stirling Prize Shortlist 2008

Shortlisted for Stirling Prize 2008

Dame Zaha Hadid architect

Location: Innsbruck, Austria

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Bergisel Ski Jump
image : Hélène Binet
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