South Tyrol: in this part of the world, it's just about impossible to find a view that doesn't make your jaw drop. So you have to work a bit harder to find new a new perspective…
The Italian Alps must rank as one of the most sublime natural sights in Europe. So how do you design a building there that doesn't stick out like a sore thumb? Local architects noa* rose to the challenge with their new Otzi Peak observation deck in the Schnals Valley. Not only does it offer unparalleled 360-degree views of the surrounding crags, it's one of the handsomest constructions ever to be put on a mountaintop. Opened in August, it's intended to provide visitors to this pretty part of the world with an even more impressive way of seeing it.
The platform's made of corten steel, and minimal touching-points with the rock makes it seem to almost float above the Schnals Valley Glacier below it. It's a sight that rewards the intrepid – fly to Innsbruck or Venice, journey into Maso Corto near the Austrian border in the heart of the Alps, then the real effort starts when you ascend 3,251 metres to the top of the glacier. (For those who prefer to holiday without crampons, there's a cable car to the nearby Grawand hotel, Europe's highest, apparently.)
At this Alpine intersection, a drop of water could either head towards the Mediterranean or the Black Sea.
Peer through the geometric funnel in the vertiginous vantage point and you'll see the spot that inspired its name – it was on this mountainside that the mummy nicknamed Otzi the Iceman was found in 1991, having spent the last 5,000 or so years preserved in ice after meeting an unfortunate end on the slopes. Sorry, Otzi, but it is a view to die for.