Crazy glass box over French Alps not for the faint hearted

Interesting Engineering

Pas_dans_le_vide[Image Source : Chamonix]

This crazy glass box is built over a 3,395 feet (1,035 meters) drop on the uppermost terrace of Europe’s highest mountain peak, the Aiguille du Midi in the French Alps. In an idea resembling the glass skywalk in the Canadian Rockies, visitors can enter the cube and experience a breathtaking panoramic view of the mountain range as never seen before. As the ol' saying goes, "don't look down!"

But of course the whole point of this project is to look down as you won't often come by a chance to walk on glass in such a spectacular and thrilling setting. 'Pas Dans Le Vide' ('Step into the Void') is the brainchild of Pierre-Yves Chays and is operated by the Chamonix Mont Blanc (CMB), who installed a cable car that takes visitors on 20 minute ride to the lookout.

It is part of an attempt by the CMB to refurbish the visitor centre at the summit of Aguille du MidiRead and to boost tourism in the area and it is look to spend a total of 2.1 million Euros on the project which will also include a mountaineering museum and ice-cave. From the glass box you can see peaks in France, Italy and Switzerland.

A spokesman for the Compagnie du Mont Blanc, the firm which operates the ski lifts and attractions in the area, said, "Lovers of thrills will enjoy the new attraction of the site, Step Into The Void. This glass box, built around a metal frame will be suspended above the void.

Step-into-the-Void[Image Source : Chamonix]

"Perfectly integrated in existing buildings which it is a natural extension, this new element will have very little impact on the overall perception of the building and site as a whole.

Most Popular

"Accessible from the terrace, glass on five sides (three sides, ceiling, floor) it will allow visitors to understand the exceptionally empty and admire breathtaking views."

Every year, the summit of Mont Blanc becomes the ultimate objective for mountaineers from all over the world, all striving to stand on the top of Europe and look down at all of the major summits of the Alps from its 4,810m peak. Aiguille du Midi is a common route and pit stop for this journey found at 3842m (12,604ft) up.

21464933536_bbd10266e8_z[Image Source : Neil Moralee,Flickr]

Pop into the glass box and you might experience vertigo and dizziness but you can be sure the engineers of this project had to take a lot of safety factors into account. Each of the 12mm thick glass panels is custom built to provide the highest level of safety and clarity. Three layers of glass bound together can withstand winds of more than 220 km/h and a maximum temperature of 60 degrees. No big bad wolf will be blowing this box down any time soon.

message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron