Alpine Architecture, Memorial

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Once upon a time there was a benevolent state government, distributing all the fresh money that inundated the country as a consequence of the boom years and the transition from a poor agrarian to a well-of post-industrial state, and many the towns in this stated decided to build natatoria, ice stadiums and tennis halls. It was a high time for the architects, and as the alpine region is proud of the mountains and the traditions, in our small town decor shapes of the ice stadium and the indoor pool ingested the form of the surrounding mountains and repeated them in a modern, rhythmic gesture, combining traditional wooden elements with modern metallic styling.

Alas, the costs for maintenance grew unbearable high and the modern architecture was nowhere as adapted to the climate challenges or as failure friendly as the traditional forms where (the construction of the platform roof relied on humans to clear off the snow when a certain critical height/weight was reached). Checks on the statics were probably done incompletely, and maybe nobody wanted to tell the administration that they had to shell out millions again to keep the building safe and weather proof.

On a sad, cold, grey January day in 2006 the amount of snow on the invisibly damaged structure was too much, and only hours before the scheduled clearing could start, the roof of the ice stadium collapsed, killing 17.  Years later the artist Karl-Martin Hartmann created the cenotaph, one column for each victim. The tops of the stelae take up the shapes of the mountains – as well as of the architectural elements of the collapsed ice stadium.


    1. This was an extraordinary catastrophy here, in the other cases there were no victims. What deems me incredible stupid, is to construct a roof which can not cope with normal weather conditions by itself but is dependent on manual clearing.

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