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Innsbruck Skijump

Neutral, Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)

Jumping from the mountain.

The Bergisel Ski Jump (also referred to as Innsbruck Ski Jump, because of its location) is a monumental landmark for the alpine city. Designed and realized by Zaha Hadid between 1999 and 2002 it is a study of formal expression, as Luke Fiederer says in an ArchDaily Classic article: "its sweeping lines and minimalist aesthetic create a sense of graceful, high-speed motion, reflecting the dynamic sensation of a ski jump in a monumental structure that stands above the historic center of Innsbruck and the mountain slopes around."

The first ski jump was constructed in 1926 and was home to two Winter Olympics competitions – first in 1964, and then again in 1976, but in constant use, also outside the sports competitions. "In 1999, Innsbruck began a project to refurbish its aging Olympic Arena. Unfortunately, as the original ski jump facility no longer conformed to contemporary international standards, it was deemed necessary to build a replacement," says Luke Fiederer, explaining the new programmatic requirements from the Austrian Ski Federation that made clear it was time for a statement project to be realized.

They placed a competition in 1999 and ZHA won with this massive monument: "Hadid's proposal was massive, measuring 90 meters long and towering almost 50 meters over the peak of Bergisel Mountain. Despite its size, however, the Ski Jump was designed to blend seamlessly with the mountain: the various program requirements were molded into a single, minimal mass, with the ski ramp continuing the slope of the mountainside up toward the sky."

The animation created fro ZHA by Neutral manage to give the impression of a great and monumental architecture with a strong temporal aspect, despite its physical stillness. Tapio Snellman and Christian Grou, founders of Neutral and producers of this animation, looking back at this project comment, "the Innsbruck Ski Jump -animation for Zaha Hadid exemplifies how architecture can be communicated from the point of view of its user. A ski jumper takes the lead role of the cameraman in this short animation, exploring both the architectural design, but also enables the audience to experience the dynamic of shooting down a ski jump, the daring flight, and the exaltation of landing. Editing and soundtrack play a crucial role in emphasizing the experience."

(Story by Sara Marzullo, The Architecture Player)


Mentioned projects: Bergisel Ski Jump (1999-2002)
Project location: Innsbruck, Austria
Concept, Direction, Production, Edit, Sound: Neutral

United Kingdom 2000
Duration: 0'41"