Top Mountain Star
Stars in the night sky above the Gur­gler Tal are defi­nite­ly not rare, but since this past win­ter one shines par­tic­u­lar­ly bright­ly. Way up atop the over 3,000 me­ter high Wurmko­gel, the Top Moun­tain Star stands in sol­i­tary splen­dor on a nar­row ridge - a com­plete­ly en­closed glass pano­ra­ma bar for ob­serv­ing, re­lax­ing and en­joy­ing.

State-of-the-art ca­ble­ways and lifts, ex­cel­lent ho­tels and an ex­traor­d­i­nary sett­ing - the end of the Ítz­tal is the start of a very spe­cial holi­day ad­ven­ture. Amidst the gla­ci­at­ed three-thou­sand me­ter moun­tains of the Ítz­taler Alpen and far away from the dis­turb­ing tran­sit traff­ic Ober­gur­gl-Hochgur­gl of­fer high­lights cont­in­u­ous­ly. And in do­ing so its el­e­va­tion should al­so be tak­en in­to ac­count - here the fun on the slopes be­gins way up at 1,800 me­ters, where it stops in other places.

The 3,082 me­ter-high Wurmko­gel, the high­est point in the ski area, is si­t­u­at­ed di­rect­ly in the main Alpine ridge on the bor­der be­tween Aus­tria and Ita­ly, north and south, shade and sun - and pro­vides a tru­ly bound­less view of the Stubai­er and Ítz­taler Alpen as well as of the char­ac­teris­tic rocky for­ma­tions of the Dolomites in the south.

Clear-cut ar­chi­tec­ture

Up here one can dis­cov­er new hori­zons and an ar­chi­tec­ton­ic high­light with the Top Moun­tain Star, which sets new stan­dards and stages the moun­tains in a com­plete­ly new way. The lo­ca­tion could hard­ly be more ex­posed: a small sad­dle in a nar­row rocky ridge which drops down stee­p­ly on both sides yet which is still wide enough to se­cure a foun­da­tion on top of it.

Just like a crown on a tooth, the one-and-a-half me­ter thick con­crete crown sits atop the rocky race, fixed by 25 rock an­chors that are an av­er­age of eight me­ters long - it's bet­ter to be safe than sor­ry. Above it there is a large 120 square me­ter cir­cu­lar pano­ra­ma plat­form with a full glass fašade which can be opened in good weather, al­low­ing the in­side and out­side to blend to­gether. And all of it is crowned by a dome made of glass and steel gird­ers which jut out­wards like the rays of a star.

A con­struc­tion with sur­pris­ing clar­i­ty, re­duced to the es­sen­tial, built us­ing three ma­te­rials, me­t­al, wood and glass.
The cul­mi­na­tion of it all is a cir­cu­lar gallery on which you can walk around the 360░ pano­ra­ma step by step - ab­s­tract­ly vi­su­al­ized pano­ra­mas on the pano­ra­ma handrail pro­vide in­for­ma­tion about the names of the sur­round­ing peaks and the dis­tances to many ci­ties in all di­rec­tions.

A new lev­el of per­cep­tion

The Top Moun­tain Star, de­signed by Mu­nich ar­chi­tect Prof. Peter Sch­muck, is a re­al eye-catch­er - and yet it fades in com­pari­son to that which ob­servers per­ceives all around them. Nev­er­the­less, ev­ery­one is mag­i­cal­ly at­tract­ed to the con­struc­tion. Like a vac­u­um clean­er, the "wind­ing stair­case" that ta­pers up­wards and was cre­at­ed by the mo­men­tum of the build­ing, draws in vis­i­tors, lead­ing up to another lev­el of per­cep­tion.

At the bot­tom it is still firm­ly con­nect­ed to the moun­tain; on the gallery you are, so to speak, sus­pend­ed over it and can ad­mire the moun­tains from a bird's eye view - and time seems to fly by. In amaze­ment and per­haps even a bit pen­sive, vis­i­tors stand on the pano­ra­ma plat­form, en­joy­ing the thrill of the view way down be­low and the pano­ra­ma as well as the al­ter­na­tion of light and shade, the game be­tween the clouds and wisps of fog which is par­tic­u­lar­ly im­pres­sive here on the main Alpine ridge. Dur­ing in­cle­ment weather vis­i­tors go in­side - with­out hav­ing to fore­go the 360░ pano­ra­ma - while the wind whis­tles around the build­ing or snowflakes fall from the sky.

An im­pres­sive ex­pe­ri­ence

Any­one who al­ways want­ed to know what hap­pens in a cloud can find out here. Se­parat­ed on­ly by a pane of glass, you can ex­pe­ri­ence the forces as well as the beau­ty and fas­ci­na­tion of na­ture up close and you won't get enough of watch­ing the spec­ta­cle.

The urge to rack up kilome­ters on the slopes quick­ly takes a back­seat; what's more im­por­tant now is en­joy­ing the mo­ment, sitt­ing and lis­ten­ing to clas­si­cal and med­i­ta­tion mu­sic at the star bar where the drinks be­gin to spark­le when ac­ci­den­tal­ly placed on one of the points of light that be­long to twelve zo­di­ac signs carved in­to the woo­d­en bar. Out­side, the Swarovs­ki and snow crys­tals glis­ten bril­liant­ly, in the sky the sun shines and in the even­ing, as soon as the sun breath­tak­ing­ly sets be­hind the Ítz­tal moun­tain crests, the stars spark­le bright­ly with the new Top Moun­tain Star.


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