Design Studio WS 15/16

Mühlbach: Alte Schmiede Re*loaded


The old forge in the center of the village of Mühlbach am Manhartsberg in the Weinviertel is the focus of this design program. Design program in the center of the consideration. The location of this forge in the center of the village is undoubtedly attractive, although the building has not been used for this function for a long time and has been empty for quite some time. First of all, it is therefore necessary to intend a meaningful use and to consider the revitalization of the town center not far from the castle. The concept to be developed should therefore not end at the outer walls of the blacksmith’s shop, but rather have a cross-building effect on the wider village structure, including the impressive castle complex. The question of the extent to which the existing structure can and should be adapted or changed needs to be examined more closely. In any case, the adjacent Anger can be included in the considerations. In this larger context, infrastructural measures can also be included in the considerations, which are capable of revitalizing the village center in the rural area. In the context of this design exercise, it is therefore important to set identification measures and to develop architectural interventions that contribute to a positive development of the village. The main goal, however, is not to implement detached sculptures and the like, but rather to develop a realizable concept as well as a concrete usable design solution. The discussion is therefore directed at the concrete questions surrounding the use of the existing building and the surrounding (semi-) public space.


Looking at the designs around the former forge in Mühlbach, it is noticeable that the existing building, which in itself is not worthy of further attention, experienced a not unimportant atmospheric charge in the course of the first inspection. The individual’s power of imagination was a decisive factor in stimulating the diverse thoughts surrounding the damp masonry walls and the rotten wooden structures found there. The activities once carried out here therefore often become the starting point for new uses in an abstracted or surreal form. Thus the forge sometimes becomes the muscle forge or even the gusto forge. Stimulated by the heating of the steel, a building develops in a further conceived form that is completely dedicated to saunas. Fires and hearths dominate many a design approach and bring the former past at least partially back to life. At the same time, however, the desire for a lively village center is also emerging. A center that is filled with life. A center where people meet and exchange ideas, where people trade and haggle. In short, a place of liveliness. The designs meet this desire with a variety of uses and a mix of uses, preferably at all times of the day and, if possible, also in the evening. Against this imaginatively charged background of thought, various thoroughly different approaches develop around the center of Mühlbach, which until now has not really wanted to be one. Thus, music becomes the starting point of a targeted village revival, as does working together in workshops or a bee trail that leads into the neighboring baroque garden. Whether temporary living in the surrounding vineyards or dining in the shade of Mühlbach Castle, the aim is to emphasize the special character of the place and create offers that are unmistakable and unique.