View over the city and mountains from the top floor of Innsbruck's City Hall (Photo: © Roland Halbe, www.rolandhalbe.com)

Travel and tourist information:
www.innsbruck-information.at/

Mayor of Innsbruck
www.worldmayor.com/
manifestos05/innsbruck




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Innsbruck City Hall
By Katrin Heiss

Historical background
In 1358 Innsbruck became the first town in the Tyrol to have its own city hall. The old City Hall was a merchant’s house situated right in the old town of Innsbruck. But lack of space soon made it necessary for the town administration to start looking for more room.

On the occasion of Emperor Franz Joseph’s pending golden jubilee, the wholesaler Leonhard Lang decided to present his house, a former hotel in the Maria-Theresien-Straße, to the people of Innsbruck for use as a city hall. During the second world war, bombs completely destroyed the central section of the building in the main street of Innsbruck and between 1947 and 1948 large parts of the City Hall were rebuilt.  

In 1983 a competition for the reconstruction and conversion of the City Hall was announced but the plans were postponed until 1994 when a consortium of both city government and private investors decided to hold an international architectural competition for the reconstruction and extension of the City Hall.

The clear winner was the French star architect Dominique Perrault. In partnership with the Munich-based architects Reichert-Pranschke-Maluche and the Tyrolean planning company Achammer, Tritthart & Partner (ATP) Perrault’s competition project was fully able to mature and the reconstruction of the City Hall began in early 2000.

After a decade-long development process the new City Hall and the City Hall Galleries were opened in 2002 and since then the complex has been a major attraction at the very heart of Innsbruck.

A new approach
Dominique Perrault once mentioned that it was the first time that he had been confronted with such an unusual situation. On the one hand, there was the municipal authority making the land available, and on the other, there was an investor consortium of banks and business people who wanted to add a shopping mall and a hotel to the existing building. The “private public partnership”, however, turned out to be a great success and the close interaction between public and private sectors exceeded all expectations.

The City Hall of Innsbruck is shared by several private and public investors and different functions are housed within one large urban block. The entrance to the town hall can be found directly at the entrance to the Rathaus Galerien shopping mall.

Art and nature
Two features are to be found throughout the new City Hall – art and nature. The city administration has placed great emphasis on the inclusion of art and the creation of green space.

A total of thirteen projects concentrated in the City Hall of Innsbruck were realised by Austrian and international artists. The core pieces of the project, due to their size and their location in key areas of the architectural composition, consist of the glass roof for the courtyard by Daniel Buren and the glass façade of the tower by Peter Kogler. From the new glazed City Hall tower one can enjoy a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains.

A green carpet was laid over the entire complex to provide a replacement for the lost green space. The inner court of the City Hall was designed in green and all the roofs were given roof gardens. The close interaction between art and nature has proved to be a highlight for both locals and tourists, and the combination of contemporary aestheticism and functionalism has set a new standard for Innsbruck’s urban architecture.


Design by Peter Kogler for the new Innsbruck City Hall's glass tower (Photo: © Roland Halbe, www.rolandhalbe.com)


Introducing
Dominique Perrault,
principal architect of Innsbruck's new City Hall

Dominique Perrault was born in Clermont Ferrand in 1953 and now lives and works in Paris.

He received his architecture degree in Paris in 1978 and his certificate in town planning at the Ecole nationale des Ponts et Chaussées in 1979. In 1980, he received a postgraduate degree in History at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Social Sciences.

Dominique Perrault opened his Paris office in 1981. He gained his reputation in France after the completion of two major projects: the engineers' school ESIEE in Marne-la-Vallée and the Hôtel Industriel Berlier in Paris, for which he has since been awarded several prizes.

He won the international competition for the construction of the French National Library in 1989, and in 1992, the international competition for the Olympic Velodrome and swimming pool in Berlin, for which he opened another office in Germany. These two projects ensured his international fame. In 1996, he won the competition for the Court of Justice of the European Community in Luxembourg, and opened a third office in Luxembourg in 2000. In 2002, Dominique Perrault opened two more agencies, one in Barcelona and another in Baltimore in the United States.

Dominique Perrault's work is extremely varied and includes many new constructions and numerous renovations. The architectural programs of these projects range from large buildings, such as cultural or sports projects, to smaller projects, such as urban "insertions" in blighted urban areas to private housing in prestigious neighbourhoods.

In addition, he gives many lectures and participates in numerous juries and seminars. Dominique Perrault also teaches at several foreign universities, among them the E.T.H. in Zürich, Switzerland.

He has been awarded various prizes, notably the Great National Prize of Architecture in 1996 and the Mies van der Rohe Prize for the National Library in France in 1997. Furthermore, Dominique Perrault is Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, member of the Architecture Academy, honourable member of the German Association of Architects [BDA] and of the British Institute of Royal Architecture. From November 1998 to February 2001 he was President of the French Institute of Architects. Dominique Perrault is currently an architectural consultant for the mayor of Barcelona.