The Gletscherjet 3 and 4 project was yet another work done by Arkan Zeytinoglu Architects in the Kitzsteinhorn area in Salzburg, Austria. In the project the architects were responsible for planning the lift stations of the new glacier lines Gletscherjet 3 and 4 of the Gletscherbahnen Kaprun. The project comprises three stations, was completed in October 2015 and officially inaugurated in December 2015.
Thanks to the new lift runs the glacier can be reached more directly and faster throughout the entire year and a complete restructuring of the central glacier skiing area has been generated. For visitors, the journey from the valley to the top offers a special experience that an understanding of the natural conditions and specialties of the location.
When designing the new station for the Gletscherjets 3 and 4, Zeytinoglu architects were inspired by the glacier rocks, which are hidden beneath the snow and ice layers and which come to light when the glacier melts. The stations adopt the form of the stones in order to integrate into the location. The designers also considered the scenario of an accelerated, right up to a complete melting of the glacier. They were concerned about how the new stations could be embedded into a futuristic landscape that is dominated by the rocks rather than the glacier.
The planning phase was lead by the extreme circumstances of the building location, which made the architects focus on technical aspects and functionality. In Arkan Zeytinoglu's words, “it is not about romance – people are getting in touch with wild nature. The surface of the building is not connected to romantic transfiguration, but is rather a technically adequate solution.“ In this regard, a particular challenge was planning the summit station. At an altitude of up to 3000 meters building becomes complicated and choosing the right material is crucial. Low temperatures, wind and snow were dominating the process. Parts such as the fundamentals and the slope protection were built in massive construction, the rest is made up of a steel construction. Roof and fassade were covered with a total of 1.500 m2 blue-grey prepatinated zinc-cassettes.
In addition, the logistics system applied had to allow a construction period of only three months. In fact, in case of fresh snow, the working day had to be started with checking whether avalanche blasting is necessary to ensure the workers’ safety. As the upper part of the building site was not accessible by a road, 15,000 tonnes of material were transported by the use of a cableway. Concrete mixing plants and cranes were disassembled and pulled up the mountain by snow-cats or “piste bashers”.