Museums seldom take on inspirational exteriors, as after all, the contents are designed to capture the imagination. Yet the Reinhold Messner museum constructed by Zaha Hadid Architects defies the aforementioned classification.

Located in the summit plateau of Plan de Corones in the idyllic Italian Alps, the sixth and final museum dedicated to the career of profound mountaineer, Reinhold Messner, showcases exhibitions in a whole new light.

Exploring the strict discipline of mountain climbing through an entirely unique collection of photographs and paraphernalia collected by Messner during his time as an explorer; this is a museum like no other. Yet the subject, Reinhold Messner is a man like no other also, as he was acclaimed for making the first ascent of Mount Everest without supplementary oxygen as well as the first climber to complete all fourteen ‘eight-thousanders’ mountain treks worldwide.

Taking two years to complete, the museum is an entirely concrete structure buried beneath the imposing mountainous backdrop; a fitting setting to commemorate Messner’s vast achievements.

A simplistic yet stunning singular entrance leads guests inside the underground gallery, before three stories open up at the rear to offer protruding views over the unmistakable Alpine landscape.

Internally complex systems of cascading staircases characterise the museum with the different dynamic levels opening up the exhibition space to whole new levels of perception.

Glazed gaps in the structure are forged so that the interior receives natural sunlight amongst the bucolic surroundings, while the total immersion of the build from the mountain allows the museum to maintain a constant internal temperature to provide the ultimate levels of comfort and warmth.

Educational exploring; courtesy of the Zaha Hadid architects.