Competition winners Michael Sailstorfer and zwoPK give a tour of Südtiroler Platz
Redevelopment of the area around Vienna’s Hauptbahnhof (Main Station) included a new design for Südtiroler Platz, a square in the fourth district, which the municipality envisioned as the city’s new “vestibule.” In fall 2013, residents were given an opportunity to make suggestions as to what the future square should look like. The results of the survey were incorporated into the anonymous competition initiated by KÖR Kunst im öffentlichen Raum (Art in the Public Space) and the MA 19 department for architecture and urban design.
Six groups of competitors from Austria, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands developed sophisticated design concepts for the competition. While all submissions had been developed by architects and landscape planners together with artists, Michael Sailstorfer and zwoPK’s design emerged victorious in June 2014, with a great majority of votes. Their concept includes four “green isles,” bordered by seating steps and light sculptures above the ventilation shafts of the subway as an art intervention. The winning design restructures the current square by playing on its insular character and connecting footpaths. The major footpaths not only remain intact but are upgraded. Four green isles are embraced by sitting areas, while drinking fountains, small play areas and sheltered sitting areas with lovely views offer many options for use, thus fulfilling a communicative function.
Michael Sailstorfer’s light sculptures floating above the ventilation shafts of the subway account for the importance of the square as a traffic hub. Sailstorfer visits sites to draw sketches of traffic situations and use them to design sculptures reminiscent of maps, paths or routes followed by travelers.