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For the funicular railway up the North Massif, the so-called Nordkettenbahn, the longest pending overhaul of the entire railway technical apparatus required adapting the three wayside stations which were gripped by the strictures of national monument protection, Hungerburg, Seegrube and Hafelekar, built in 1927-1928 according to plans of Franz Baumann, one of Tirol’s most successful and internationally renowned architects of his day. Significant additions to the original construction were made both in design and material, nonetheless were construed as complementary parts to the overall design. Annexes and modifications which had accrued over the course of decades were removed, the age-old structure painstakingly reconstructed in its major elements. The lower terminal Hungerburg: railway capacity was raised to 95 persons, requiring an enlargement of the waiting room around the secondary rooms on the north side. The dark coloured steel-plated wall surfaces of these rooms kept them distinct from the other waiting hall, which permits the old dimensions of the waiting hall and its original appearance to be palpably experienced. Window openings added later were sealed.

That was where the most elaborate and complex alterations were made to the basic structure: to expand the waiting hall by adding an annex on the southeast side and enlarge the kitchen along the northern front. Both annexes were executed as decorative concrete cubes. The waiting hall faces south through a panorama window. At the interface between original structure and newly constructed waiting hall, the room opens up as far as the roof structure, creating ample space for the 450 waiting passengers. An enlargement of the entry slots for cable and cabins, a heightened weight capacity of the cabins and in the technical rooms, as well as higher standards which have evolved over time place great demands on the creative solution-seeking faculties of the engineers. A major segment of the restoration planning lay in refurbishing the restaurant rooms (on ground and first floors) to their unique original quality and atmosphere by removing later-added reconstructions and installations. The new kitchen was expanded to the north by means of an annex of decorative concrete, which also fulfilled the purpose of providing avalanche protection by inserting itself into the immediate surroundings like a "supine cliff". Mountain terminal Hafelekar: by removing all subsequently added annexes, the original form of the building was restored. This is all the more significant, since the Hafelekar station numbers among those modern constructions depicting in exemplary fashion the classic architectural form of high alpine rooms. The building emanates a certain fusion with the mountain itself to form a unity between nature and artifice.

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PURCHASING AUTHORITY: Strabag AG / Stadt Innsbruck
project management, general planning, local construction supervision, law on construction site coordination: Malojer Baumanagement GmbH & Co
DESIGN AND DRAFT: Zaha Hadid Architects London