Star architect Zaha Hadid’s first work in Innsbruck was the soaring Bergisel ski jump which opened in 2005. Two years later, the four stations she designed for the Nordkettenbahn hybrid funicular line took architecture to new heights, literally and figuratively. The Nordkettenbahn ascends 1,000 feet to connect the city center of Innsbruck with Hungerburg, beginning and ending in stations designed by Hadid with two others by her en route. While the gleaming white stations have been compared to futuristic space ships, Hadid’s inspiration came from the curves and swoops of ice formations. Each is an engineering wonder, with lightweight roof structures resting atop concrete plinths. The railway itself is also an engineering marvel with its changes in incline and both underground and above ground sections.
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