Wondering what’s up with the new Helbronner station? Yeah me neither but Felix made me feel all slack for not posting the info already so I was forced to spend an unusually cruel length of time on the Funivie Monte Bianco website so you don’t have to. Thanks Felix.
The new Funivie Monte Bianco looks like it will be, as we’d all hope, an architectural and engineering phenomenon that will sweep us from the Courmayeur valley to the top of Punta Helbronner in two segments. The new bottom tram will follow a totally new line from the base of the valley, Pontal d’Entréves, to a pimp new mid-station located looker’s left of the old one.
Spherical glass and steel cablecars will rotate as they ascend. According to the website, “The sphere is the shape with the lowest external surface compared to its volume. It has no edges or corners, and therefore can support its load equally on all sides. It has no structural defects and is the shape that requires less energy.” That and it looks like an old school NASA helmet, which should keep all the astronauts in the crowd happy.
The 2-level, 3900 sqm base station at Pontal d’Entréves will be stainless steel, wood and glass with filtered natural light. The roof is designed to not only look all tech and futuristic but also to withstand high winds due to its sinusoidal construction, which, as we all know, is a curve described by the equation y = a sin x, the ordinate being proportional to the sine of the abscissa. Did I mention the 336-space, 2-level underground parking?
Pavillion du Mont Fréty will be three structures on two floors covering 2200 sqm that is designed to “fit elegantly amongst the alpine landscape” while fulfilling “the strict requirements of the cableway line.” To me it looks like a peaceful bed of snow clams. With giant killer teeth. But that’s just me. Time to cut back on the Adderall maybe.
Anyway, the upper station is 15 meters tall with large windowed surfaces featuring open scenic views. Shopping areas? Check. 97-seat Cinema? Duh. Restaurants and cafes? Naturalmente. The old restored station will serve as a museum that will remind everyone how we used to get to the top back in the olden days.
“Because of the extremely limited space available, the station will be constructed in a mostly vertical manner with cantilevered terraces, which emulate the natural elements of its environment. Structures are developed using high performance materials suited for their resistance to the elements and able to prevent the formation of snow and ice on their surface. Higher structures and external facings are in zinc titanium coated steel and thick glass windows designed to provide a specific scenic exposure. A circular scenic terrace of 14 meters in diameter will provide a 360˚ view of Mont Blanc, Dent du Géant, Grandes Jorasses and Vallée Blanche. A restaurant with a panoramic view and outdoor terrace will be located on the west side and a café with a panoramic terrace will be on the east.”
And last but not least, Pointe Helbronner will be connected to the Torino Hut by a 70-meter elevator and 154-meter tunnel so that we can go from Courmayeur to the Torino Hut without taking off our flip flops. Now that’s what I call progress!
The €75,000,000 project is planned to be finished in 2015, which in English means don’t hold your breath. Architects for the project are Carlo Cillara Rossi and Guido Incarbone. For more info and pictures of hard-working men with big tools, check out the website.