Location Hochgurgl, Austria Architect Michael Brötz Done 2015 Costs 10 Mio. €

Taking the High Alpine Road over the Timmelsjoch pass is one of the most beautiful drives you can take through the alps. The drive straddles the border between North and South Tyrol, and has sweeping views from all sides. As you drive the High Alpine Road – whether from Italy or Ötztal – you will soon come across a welcoming toll plaza that appears to “embrace” you through its shape. It soon becomes apparent that this modern piece of alpine architecture is so much more than that though!

Timmelsjoch Crosspoint is a building that wears many hats. It is part alpine toll station, a gondola stop, a restaurant, and a mountain motorcycle museum. Architect Michael Brötz shared that all of Crosspoint’s functions were both the biggest difficulty behind its design, as well as its greatest strength. Brötz says “In general, it was important to me to create an architecture that, despite its size and modernity, is inviting and exudes warmth and security.”

Conquering the alpine weather to make moody images

My goal for photographing this incredible structure was to give viewers an overview of the architecture in its environment while celebrating the many bespoke details found throughout the structure. The Crosspoint is a wonderful combination of sweeping curved lines, natural materials, and flowing transitions.

As with most of the other modern alpine architecture projects I have photographed in my career, the biggest difficulty I ran into while planning this shoot was the weather. Days of strong wind and rain drove a sea of clouds over the mountain range. This brought an element of drama to the images that I decided to capitalize on. On the other hand, it made some of the images appear to paint contrast and have a flatness about them. To counteract this, I decided to photograph The Crosspoint in the early evening which meant subtle lighting and less traffic.

Moderne Architektur Alpen, Modern Alpine Architecture, Modern Alpine Design, Berge, Mountains, Contemporary, Außergewöhnliche Gebäude, Architekturfotografie Österreich, Deutschland, Italien, Schweiz, Architekturfotograf für Interieur, Exterieur Werbefotografie und Filmproduktionen

Post-processing to manage dynamic range

One major challenge I ran into while photographing Timmelsjoch Crosspoint was the strong contrast between the view from the windows and the very dark bikes, floors and ceiling elements. To overcome this disparity, I knew I had to take a series of exposure brackets for each image. This gave me the ability to pick and choose the proper tones from each area of the photograph and lighten or darken them specifically. Accentuating the lumion city and color of each localized area of the photographs allowed me to achieve a balanced exposure and proper color throughout this entire series.

Photographing The Crosspoint's complex interior

Another challenge for this piece of architecture was to show the order and flow that architect Michael Brötz worked so hard to achieve in his design. It was important for me to carefully make my compositions in a way that they included clear lines from the corner of the image into the center of the motif. This allows the viewer to be guided through the countless motorcycles, engines, blocks, skis, lamps, and information boards. In addition, particularly bright areas of the image give focus points on which one can concentrate and “empty” areas must not be missing in the image in order to bring some calm back into the confusion. They are able to subtly note all of these elements while getting a good overview of the shape and form of the museum as a whole.

A sense of warmth and comfort for travelers

Timmelsjoch Crosspoint is a haven for travelers on the High Alpine Road.
Its modern comforts and clean design still give a nod to traditional mountain construction. Brötz explains that he relied on “a strong use of wood as a raw, renewable, building material.” The wood-clad interior and beautiful lighting design communicate a sense of simplistic warmth and shelter – a concept I strove to depict in these photographs.

The heart and soul of architectural photography

I read with great regret in the spring of 2021 that the Crosspoint had burned down almost to its foundation walls. An electrical short circuit caused a fire in the museum that spread to much of the house. This spring, the architect Michael Brötz set to work on redesigning the Crosspoint and completed the construction work at the end of November 2021. The structure is now rebuilt but, a great many of the exhibits were doomed in the fire.

This series of pictures is one of the last testimonies of the original building and the contents of the museum. This unfortunate truth highlights the importance of architectural photography, a task used to document and celebrate the feats of what man has been able to design and build on this earth.

Equipment

camera

drone

1. Lens
2. Lens
3. Lens

tripod

software

Canon EOS R.

DJI Mavic Pro 2

Canon TS-E 24mm f / 3.5L II
Canon TS-E 50mm f / 2.8l MACRO
Canon EF 16-35mm f / 2.8 L II USM

Feisol CT-3441T Rapid

Capture One 21, Adobe Photoshop CC

About the shoot


Project series: Modern Alpine Architecture
Style: architectural photography
Building: Timmelsjoch Crosspoint
Location: Hochgurgl, Austria

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