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Voestalpine exhibition centre

A new visitor centre for the steel and machinery producer Voest Alpine is to be located among their domineering, assertive existing industrial installations. The design concept responds to this particular context by creating its functional and spatial opposite. By placing the building underground, it becomes possible to direct focus elsewhere. Introversion, calm and varying lighting conditions act as an antidote to the extroversion and bustle of daily operations. The theme “exhibiting” is redefined by a novel architectural concept. The roof is the exhibition building’s only visible façade, lying on the ground like a rug of steel panels. Train tracks protruding upwards from the ground act as vertical elements and a recognisable symbol of the exhibition centre. When the wind blows, the tracks begin a steely dance, the free end swaying gently. In stronger winds the rails collide and ring like bells. The large underground hall is subdivided into areas of varying sizes. Three permanent rooms contain circulation, hospitality and service areas. Four closed screening rooms can be moved along a system of rails recessed flush in the floor. By moving and rotating these boxes, it is possible to configure the space in an infinite number of different ways.

Design Team: Andreas Cukrowicz, Anton Nachbaur-Sturm, Michael Stöckler
Client: Voest Alpine Stahl Linz GmbH
Competition 2001, 3rd prize