Design Studio WS 20/21

Design Studio WS 20/21: RE*VISITING Neunkirchen – densification and revitalisation in existing buildings


Within the scope of the design programme. The design programme focuses on a smaller and a larger property in Neunkirchen, Lower Austria, together with the buildings. These are located in close proximity to each other (Wiener Straße and Alleegasse). The main square of Neunkirchen can be reached on foot in a few minutes. This raises the question of the long-term (re)use of the area and how to deal with the existing buildings. Accordingly, the issue of (partial) demolition will also have to be questioned. The discussion of meaningful uses also has a high priority. The utilisation of all existing spaces can and should be considered strategically. In the context of this design exercise, it is important to combine utilisation concepts with architectural measures that contribute to meaningful development. The main objective is to develop a realisable overall concept and a concrete, usable design solution.


If one looks at the approaches around the neighbourhood to be newly planned and the adjacent properties near the centre of Neunkirchen, the diversity of approaches is astonishingly high, despite the a priori envisaged residential use. If one looks more closely, it becomes clear that the location of the property or properties, while perhaps appearing a little out of the way at first glance, is gradually gaining in importance for the overall fabric of the town of Neunkirchen. In the present designs, areas that are currently rather fallow and bear witness to a long past are being transformed into liveable and liveable neighbourhoods, the majority of which are not exclusively dedicated to housing but are also willing to take on functions of public life. For the students, there are primarily a few central themes in the course of the design process. These include the integration of the new quarter into the larger urban context, especially the nearby Panorama Park and the banks of the Schwarza. Furthermore, it is the search for the identity of the place, which is constituted by the proximity to the park and the former railway station areas. And last but not least, there are questions about the possible building density or the various structural scales of the surroundings and their possible integration.

In the course of the intensive examination of the local conditions, the desire to retain or even enhance the recreational character of the area is becoming increasingly apparent. It is therefore not surprising that the planned buildings are often oriented towards “living in the park” or “living by the park”. After all, the most intensive greening possible and the creation of attractive outdoor spaces should not only benefit the residents, but also serve as an invitation to the city’s inhabitants. The same applies to the very different approaches to revitalising the area through various public functions. No matter whether it is an event space, a market or a sports function, they all aim to make the area a centre of attraction for “everyone”. Last but not least, in this way an individual quarter becomes a piece of the city, i.e. a “pars pro toto”. The students’ motto therefore also appears to be the same: to make the area “continuous”, experienced and played with, however it may be designed in the future. The aim is to open up the existing space in as many “directions” as possible and to make it a place that is not only accessible to the residents. Some designs go one step further and think beyond the boundaries of the properties. Here the reference to the Schwarza is quickly sought and just as quickly it becomes apparent what potential the location holds. The extent to which Neunkirchen will be able to attract people in the future will depend not least on the development of these zones.