Shooting Locations

Alpine City and Its Surroundings

Tyrol’s Mountainous Architecture Throughout the Centuries

This article on Tyrol aims to offer in depth knowledge and most importantly understanding of this region’s truly diverse architecture, ranging from traditional wooden huts and historical churches, to state of the art, contemporary functional buildings on mountain tops. This unique mixture consists of some of the most iconic designs and styles of their periods, made even more emblematic by the stunning landscape surrounding it. With this we hope we can give assistance to productions to choose the most ideal location among this vast range of authentic emblematic locations.

This article on Tyrol aims to offer in depth knowledge and most importantly understanding of this region’s truly diverse architecture, ranging from traditional wooden huts and historical churches, to state of the art, contemporary functional buildings on mountain tops. This unique mixture consists of some of the most iconic designs and styles of their periods, made even more emblematic by the stunning landscape surrounding it. With this we hope we can give assistance to productions to choose the most ideal location among this vast range of authentic emblematic locations.

Stylish Mountain Architecture

The region has hired the most acknowledged contemporary architects to design such practical buildings and structures as cable car stations, ski huts and restaurants. They are exceptionally open to the latest construction techniques, as well as the latest modern shapes and forms, enabling these locations to be perfect for stylish scenes or even sci-fi films.

Making the most of the astonishing mountain ranges, there is a variety of high-tech summit platforms, that awe-inspiringly stick out of the mountain tops; imagine a panorama platform thousands of meters high with nothing beneath it only great depths. These typically have minimalist, airy designs. Thanks to the immaculate Austrian infrastructure these places are easily accessible, even with a crew for a shoot.

Youtube the ice q restaurant

Mountain top restaurants are a separate type of architecture of their own right; they need to have a design that can coexist with its environment so it does not ruin its beauty, which is why they have mostly minimalist, sleek modern designs, not to mention that they need to survive the harsh conditions. These are key places, since after a challenging journey up these mountains, what could be more important than a delicious, warm meal? Another important aspect is to make the most of the astonishing panorama views, which is why these have such large glass surfaces.

A perfect example for this is the Restaurant Ice Q located 3000 meters above sea level. Its main room is in the shape of a huge glass cube, hovering over the mountain side. It also has an awe-inspiring panorama terrace, on which one can enjoy top quality food. Next to this, Pardorama offers another version of this type; built from glass and steel its facade consists completely of glass, that reflects the horizon full of mountain tops, making the panorama truly endless. Also the Freiraum Ahorn, 2000 meters high up, made the most of its views of the Alpine mountain range by constructing a 56 meter long dining hall with glass walls - a truly extraordinary place for a meal after a day’s shoot on the mountain!

007’s Stunning Glass Restaurant Overlooking the Alps

Sölden, a municipality in Tyrol was the heart of shooting the 2015 James Bond movie Spectre. Apart from using mountain roads, tunnels and cable car lines for chase scenes, the Ice Q Restaurant, thousands of meters among the mountain tops was used as a clinic, where the baddie dwelled. The director Sam Mendes used the Alpine locations to create an atmosphere of harsh, futuristic style. A place of constant danger and awe-inspiring views still visitable for a meal or a shoot.

Observation decks are also key buildings for mountain ranges, typically located on one of the mountain’s highest ridges, offering panoramic views, as well as shelter and refreshments. An iconic observation desk is the Top Mountain Star in the Obergurgl/Hochgurgl ski resort. The circular building was constructed from steel, glass and larch wood.

The Alps without cable cars is unthinkable. They are key for tourism, since these mountains that are thousands of meters high up could not be approachable by the public otherwise. It is important to keep their technology as modern as possible, to ensure their safety and efficiency. The Wildspitzbahn is the best example for this; it has an unique organic aluminium structure perching 3440 meters high, on top of a mountain making its restaurant the highest in Austria.

Pitztal_Wildspitznahn_2E8A5067_001 The extraordinary organic shaped station perches on top of a mountain surrounded by an Alpine panorama

One must not forget about Austria's traditional buildings, such as the archetypal wooden huts or hütte. These are atmospheric with decorative, painted woodcarvings. Their structure developed over the centuries, aiming to give the best possible shelter from the Alps’ harsh conditions. But naturally, contemporary architects have created their own versions of mountain huts. The Addis Abebar is a playfully constructed ski hut, in the shape of a cube with certain parts playfully sticking out as funnels, while other parts of its walls are simply holes, creating an inner terrace. This minimal hut surrounded by mountains is an ideal stylish place for a stay.

Either carved wood or steel and glass, whichever kind of Alpine location you are seeking for, you can be sure that the most unique ones can be found here.

Modern Urban Areas

Apart from the one-of-a-kind landscape, Austria is also world famous for its winter and extreme sport culture. The country’s industry is have developed around it, welcoming  both professional and hobby sportsmen. As always, they are open towards the most innovative designs and techniques, for example they commissioned the world famous Iraqi architect to design a jump tower. Zara Hadid’s Bergiselschanze ski jump in Innsbruck is a truly unique sport structure that has a café terrace with a panorama view of the city and mountains. She also designed a truly extraordinary cable car funicular and its stations in Tyrol, in a lot more organic style than her previous design. Bizarre natural shapes morph and seemingly melt around defiant geometric concrete structures.

Another example of how the past meets the present is the Kaufhaus Tyrol, a redesigned traditional department store. Its facade may be modern, but it playfully uses the basic structures of the historic buildings on both of its side to create a homogeneous street uniting the architecture of centuries. The BTV Stadtforum on the other hand is more shamelessly contemporary, its corner calls for attention with its tower and its huge windows sticking out of the walls. It is an asymmetrical building, playing carefree with the arrangement of the windows and wall area, varying on each section of the building. Similarly to historical European tenement houses it has an interior courtyard, but naturally its form is reinterpreted and made more minimal and stylish. This building is not only made for offices, but also cultural events and exhibitions.

Kaufhaus Tyrol Its bold simplicity is what makes it so powerful

Located in Erl, the Festspielhaus concert hall is truly immense. Its harsh monumental dark geometric shapes makes it unforgettable, as it stands out of an idyllic green hill. It is world famous partially due to having the world’s largest orchestra pit in front of 862 seats in an interior of wood paneling.

The Congress Center in Igls, a spa resort, is a truly nature friendly construction, since all of its walls are made of glass, making its presence translucent. With its café it is open to the public to enjoy, and to warm up in during the harsh winters.

All these offer a diverse range of contemporary locations perfect for stylish, cultural locations or for scenes set in the future. With Austria’s immaculate infrastructure every plan is easily executable.

Historic Castles and Their Lives Today

Next to all these modern buildings, Austria’s rich history is still present. Centuries ago, as part of the Habsburg Empire, these areas were financially and culturally the richest in Central Europe. This is why one can find top quality architectural works of art as examples of each art history period, but all are an unique Austrian variant of the West European styles.

Youtube schloss matzen

One of the oldest castles in the Tyrolian area is Schloss Matzen; it was first mentioned on a famous document registering the roads and castles in the Roman Empire in the time of emperor Augustus. Since then it has inevitably undergone refurbishments, mainly gothic expansions. Over the years, it has sometimes been used strategically by the infantry or as a personal palace for rich families. A Gothic chapel was added, made complete with a baroque altarpiece, showing how interlocked styles can become on centuries old buildings. In 2008 the Rueter family bought it and opened it as a luxury castle hotel after refurbishments.

Hasegg Castle, in Hall in Tyrol is more than 700 years old. Built to defend the town and its infrastructure, it is truly unique because a mint, that is a coin making facility functioned inside its walls until 1806. These silver coins were used for centuries all around Europe. Today it is a museum open to visitors.

In the valley of the Inn, the Tratzberg Castle is one of Europe’s most beautiful Late-Gothic, early Renaissance castles. It used to be the Holy Roman Emperor’s hunting castle. Its large white walls divided by towers encloses a beautifully decorated Renaissance inner courtyard.

IMG_3907-HDR-Panorama-Modifier Tratzberg Castle

The Ambras Castle is truly unique, because it is home to one of the most important Renaissance freestanding halls throughout Europe. The 43 meters long Spanish Hall has a stunning geometric marble floor and its walls are decorated by 27 portraits of Tyrol's rulers. It is now frequently home to classical concerts. It is also home to a "Kunst- und Wunderkammer", that is a Chamber of Art and Curiosities created by the Archduke of Austria in the 16th century. To commemorate it, a 10 euro coin was issued with the castle and its famous hall on it.

A few centuries later the Rococo Hofburg was built in Innsbruck, which is considered as one of the most important historical buildings in Austria. As an imperial palace it was home to the Habsburg family; it has been the location of many important historical occasions. In 1765 the Emperor Francis I died in one of the rooms, which was then converted into a chapel. As Rococo was internationally, this residential palace is also representational, elegant and highly ornate. Both its interior and exterior is coated with light colours, since this style is typically light-hearted and joyous. Its grandiose hall is flooded by light due to the windows on both sides and by huge golden chandeliers, each holding hundreds of candles. Above the geometric marble floor is the ceiling decorated by frescoes, with figures towering over the viewers and painted blue, sunny skies. Its chapel has an altarpiece consisting of monumental marble figures mourning dead Christ.

These elaborately decorated original castles are ideal for period dramas, which are easily executable thanks to Austria’s range of experienced professional crews and ideal infrastructure.

Magnificent Catholic Churches

Religious architecture was also important for Austria, which has always been a highly catholic country. Although there was less pressure on the church since the Reformation did not have a strong effect on the Austrian people, still they kept up with European styles and standards in order to prove their strong belief, as well as their power and riches.  These buildings still have a similarly strong effect on the visitor - and on the viewer when recorded.

Stift Wilten is a church and monastery, originally built in the Middle Ages, was renovated in Baroque style, then rebuilt after Second World War bombings. There is a statue referencing the tale in which the devil sent a dragon to stop the construction of this building, but was successfully defeated by a hero cutting its tongue out. The exterior is colourfully painted using yellow and red, and is unusual because on its facade it has a huge semicircle concave booth, which gives shelter to those entering the church. Its interior is typically Baroque by it being highly decorated with frescos and white stuccos, among which the dark altar with golden decorations stands out.

The Baroque Innsbruck Cathedral was built in the 18th century. The main feature of its unusual facade are the five oval windows creating unity, even though the front wall is not in one line with the sticking out towers. Its interior is huge, with three domed vaults decorated by heroic frescos. Its altar is centered around a holy painting of Mary and the Child by Cranach, framed by a huge amount of silver and golden decorations and columns.

The 18th century Stams Abbey has a truly extraordinary high altar, which depicts the tree of life. This highly detailed golden work of art has a beautiful blue background, ensuring that it stands out in the light interior, mainly decorated by white stucco and frescos. Due to it not only being a church, but an abbey, it offers countless historic halls, rooms and all sorts of atmospheric nooks and corners.

Built on the spot where the Virgin Mary is said to miraculously appeared, the Basilica Absam is home to a holy image of Virgin Mary to which many pilgrims travel every year. It even has a special chapel with countless charming small paintings of people praying in front of the holy image. Here everything rotates around this depiction of Mary.

So these locations, which are full of religious culture are still very much alive today thanks to Tyroleans’ respect for history and tradition. But as you can see, this area is at the same time one of the most innovative ones in Europe, ensuring that it is an extremely rich and diverse region for creatives, especially inspiring filmmakers. Not to mention the timeless scenic background of the snowy Alps, simply waiting to be captured on film.

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