Friday, 1 April 2011


A very small village (850 inhabitants) in Burgenland (east of Austria, in the middle of nowhere), called Raiding, happened to have a very famous musician, called Franz Liszt. So this village got, thanks to the EU, a, at least from my point of view, a very nice concert hall. The hall seats 600 persons. Raiding is also close to the "top" wine region of Burgenland. Well, all this made the people from Raiding think of how to make a bit of profit out of that. So they decided to invite some really nice Japanese architects to do some designs for them.
On top of that, University of Innsbruck also decided to do some design studios in Raiding.

The basic setting for the design studio was to find solutions for a basically not yet properly verbalised question. Raiding doesn’t really know what it wants. The ideas are ranging from huge five star hotels to small units, basically shelters. But the aim is to use the concert hall as a kick off to introduce some infrastructure which should be able to get some attention and attract guests to stay longer in Raiding than for the time of one concert.  
This is where we, as a design class, started off.

The design presented here proposes a “hotel like” (a place for workshops, rehearsals, events, conferences etc.) solution and question at the same time. It provides Raiding with 17 rooms, ranging from 12 to 30 sqm, on top of a multifunctional hall (500 sqm). Because there are no clear questions towards the touristic aspects, the design proposal for the interiors leaves a defined answer open to discussion.

The analysis of Raiding gives a very interesting image, especially if it is set in context with the dynamic environment (cultural life, Vienna, neighbouring villages, Burgenland and its history). Raiding hasn’t changed at all within the last 150 years. The population stayed more or less the same. There are no big changes in the basic fabric, beside the gradual renewal and adaptation to a modern life standard. Raiding managed to keep its authenticity without fading into the typical Austrian traditionalism. This also allowed the Raidingers to prevent their identity.

The design proposal reinforces this authenticity and identity through a strong dynamic gesture, which interacts in a field of tension with the modernist concert hall and the traditional houses. The field of interaction (tension) enables one to read Raiding as a unique entity, rather than a traditional village with some pieces of contemporary architecture.

The site was not only picked in order to oppose to formal languages of the concert hall and the proposal, but also to play with the edges of two worlds, facing each other. On one hand a parking site for 250 cars, on the other hand cultural landscape. The design works as a mediator between them by playing with transparencies and reflections without hiding the friction between the two aesthetic worlds.   

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