The only thing Salzburg has to offer is baroque architecture? Wrong! “Neue Mitte Lehen” is only one of numerous architectural projects, which have been developed in recent years and serve as an example of Salzburg’s arrival in the 21st century.
Urban development has always been a controversial issue. But sometimes quality still prevails. The given framework conditions in Salzburg are, however, quite complex: in the middle, stuck between Mönchsberg and Salzach, the baroque old town, an essential part of Salzburg’s building-cultural heritage. Surrounding the city center, post-World War II buildings, hastily raised for the population of a city that had been destroyed by bombs. A number of very significant constructions belong to Salzburg’s post-war architecture, though. But those have not undergone full inspection yet, even though former state conservator Ronald Gobiet had already been pressing for that for years.
Nevertheless, an architectural advisory board with a commission for the assessment of new projects was established in Salzburg in the 1970s, i.e. earlier than in many other comparable cities. Since its foundation, the board has been a constant thorn in the investors’ and politics’ side. It has gained a hearing over the years – sometimes to a greater and sometimes to a lesser extent depending on the constitution of the current city government – and has been able to regularly provoke investors and politicians to – not always controlled – anger with its objections. However, in allusion to an old Austrian bureaucrat proverb, one might say: Politicians come and go. But architecture remains.
Despite the pressure of economically powerful groups with different intentions, a number of internationally noteworthy architectural projects have been successfully realized in Salzburg. This is due to several important clients, primarily clients from the public sector, in which carefully arranged architectural contests now guarantee an adequate architectural quality. For instance, the federal real estate company has distinguished itself on that front. Its UNIPARK, designed by the architectural office Storch, Ehlers und Partner, constitutes an important nucleus for the further development of Salzburg’s district Nonntal.
In terms of sponsorship, the development of “Neue Mitte Lehen”, the area adjacent to the old town of Salzburg, has been much more complex. It has been developed by private developers in association with non-profit cooperatives and local authorities in a kind of private-public partnership. The architecture studio HALLE 1 was responsible for the architectural part. The heart of the project is the new city library with its remarkable panorama bar.
In this context, the online architecture guide archtour-stadt-salzburg.at should be mentioned. It provides an extensive navigation aid to explore not only the numerous, architecturally notable new buildings of Salzburg but also the city’s architectural heritage on one’s own initiative.
INFO: Architecture Guide Salzburg www.archtour-stadt-salzburg.at www.initiativearchitektur.at