The new UNESCO Marine and World Heritage Centre in Krems (Austria) designed by Najjar-Najjar Architects was recently completed. The design is based on a proposal, ranked first in an architectural competition in 2008.
The building is located in the small town of Krems right at the river Danube's waterfront. In this area the Danube meanders through the hilly landscape of the Wachau region in Lower Austria. With its vineyards, gardens, picturesque villages and old forests on the riversides, the region became a major destination for tourists, cruising the Danube. In 2004 the region was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The architects vision for the World Heritage Centre was to create a landing as a dynamic threshold between the Danube river and the countryside. With a spectacular roof spanning over 80 meters the architects intended to outline a gate framing the activities of the visitors embarking and debarking. The structure contains an exhibition area, a restaurant, a tourist information center and a ticket office for the Danube shipping line. All these functions are formally unified under one roof. As in their previous projects the architects have mastered their ability to rigorously articulate a concept by laying out concise structures.