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Hohe Tauern National Park visitor centre

The new visitor centre takes the form of a restrained, two-storey volume with plinth flanking the main road. The transparent ground floor contains all public facilities and acts as the distributor from which all other functions can be reached. The raised plinth creates unobstructed views in all directions. Separate entrances to each of the various functions runs along two generous ramps on the building’s north and south sides. These ramps link the transparent main floor with both the network of hiking trails and the redesigned car park. The concept of self-contained boxes each dedicated to a specific function, as well as their contrast to the completely transparent main areas, drove the design of the inside spaces. The upper level’s various thematic zones, gallery and administration department, float independently above the transparent ground floor. Rough-sawn larch planks envelop this floating volume, their arrangement underpinned by a unique logic: closed areas are finished with vertically-aligned boards in the usual way, but planks at translucent parts of the façade are seamlessly butt jointed at their lower end and twist through 90 degrees along their length.  The timber volume thereby gains a sense of levity in its higher reaches, and enough daylight is admitted to the interior, but a precise distinction between it and the transparent lower storey is nevertheless maintained.

Design Team: Andreas Cukrowicz, Anton Nachbaur-Sturm, Martin Ladinger, Michael Cukrowicz
Client: Nationalparkzentrum Hohe Tauern GmbH
Competition 2005