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Wonky Hotels And Spiral Ski Jumps: Innsbruck’s Modern Architecture

Innsbruck is full of famous buildings: the Hofburg imperial palace, Schloss Ambras castle, the Ottoburg, and of course the ever-popular Golden Roof (no trip to Innsbruck is complete without a selfie in front of this beauty).

But not every amazing building in Innsbruck was built in the sixteenth century. Tirol’s capital city is also full of weird and wonderful modern architecture. From gravity-defying hotels to apartments without any right angles, architects in Innsbruck have created the masterpieces of tomorrow. Here is a guide to the city’s best modern buildings.

A Town Hall With A Difference

Every Austrian city has a “Rathaus”, or town hall. And most of these town halls are beautiful historic buildings that have been around for centuries. But not Innsbruck. In 1996, the city ran a competition for a complete redesign of the town hall, incorporating shops, restaurants and a shopping arcade. The winner was French architect Dominique Perrault and the result was pretty cool.

A modern take on the traditional town hall. © Innsbruck Tourismus / Christof Lackner

The building is particularly famous for its pipes motif on the glass. Oh, and there’s also a 360° sky bar with one of the best views over the city.

Glass art at its finest. © Innsbruck Tourismus

The Leaning Tower Of Innsbruck

Welcome to the hotel that defies gravity. If you’ve ever played with wooden blocks, you’ll know that towers that are wider at the top than at the bottom usually don’t stand up very well. So how the designers of Innsbruck’s Ramada Hotel managed to build this hotel is beyond us! The hotel has a slanted design—the rooms on the upper floors have nothing below them but thin air—giving the whole building an ultra-modern and very unique look.

How does it stay up? No one knows! © Innsbruck Tourismus / Christof Lackner

The Ramada is also ideally located opposite the Olympiaworld sports and events complex, meaning you can enjoy an ice hockey game or rock concert before simply crossing the road and falling straight into bed.

The Apartment Block Without Right Angles

Modern architecture in Innsbruck isn’t just something for the rich and famous. There are plenty of amazing modern apartment blocks in the city, and the “Leben am Sonnenhang” (or “Living on the Sunny Side”) is probably the most well-known. The architects wanted to create a livable building that really blended in with the natural surroundings. To achieve this, they came up with a distinctive wave shape: from the outside there is not a right angle in sight, just like in the natural world.

Who wouldn’t want to live here? © DIN A4 Architektur

The “Leben am Sonnenhang” is also built into the side of a hill, meaning the 140 apartments only have windows and balconies on the south side—great for all-day sun!

Innsbruck’s Snake-Like Ski Jump

And finally, there is one building that defines modern architecture in Innsbruck, and that is the Bergisel ski jump. Perched high over the city, this iconic building was designed in 2002 by renowned (and sadly now deceased) architect Zaha Hadid. Ski jumps normally consist of a ski jump slope and an observation tower next to it. Hadid turned this concept on its head and combined the observation tower, along with a restaurant and other facilities, and the ski jump slope into one dramatic building.

Now THAT is a ski jump. © Innsbruck Tourismus / Tom Bause

Particularly unique is the way the ski jump slope curves round the back of the building. This has led many people to compare the Bergisel to a cobra snake, although others have suggested it is more like a golf club or even a stiletto. But whatever you want to compare it to, the Bergisel is quite rightly one of Innsbruck’s proudest pieces of modern architecture.

See More Of Innsbruck’s Modern Architecture

Filmmaker Hanno Mackowitz is an architecture enthusiast, and put together this ode to some of the most exotic modern architecture in Innsbruck. Enjoy!