Innsbruck: The Latest Architecture and News
This article was originally published on May 9, 2016. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.
Situated on the peak of Bergisel Mountain above the picturesque alpine city of Innsbruck, Austria, the Bergisel Ski Jump represents the contemporary incarnation of a historic landmark. Designed by Zaha Hadid between 1999 and 2002, the Ski Jump is a study in formal expression: its sweeping lines and minimalist aesthetic create a sense of graceful, high-speed motion, reflecting the dynamic sensation of a ski jump in a monumental structure that stands above the historic center of Innsbruck and the mountain slopes around.
For 10 years this December, Zaha Hadid’s Hungerburgbahn have graced the built environment of Innsbruck, Austria. Since its conception, over 4.5 million passengers have visited one of the four train stations connecting them from downtown Innsbruck to the Norkette Mountain to Hungerburg.
In two lectures delivered by Bart Lootsma, Professor and Head of Institute for Architectural Theory and History at the University of Innsbruck, the 2016 Venice Biennale—Reporting From the Front—is dissected, unpicked and evaluated through the national participations (pavilions) and Alejandro Aravena's central exhibitions. Lootsma, who has broadcast the lectures as publicly available resources on architecturaltheory.eu, is the co-curator of the 2016 Pavilion of Montenegro.
In the now-globalized battle to attract tourists and retain citizens, cities have had to get increasingly creative, often branding themselves to highlight their unique histories or most striking physical characteristics. However, this branding rarely takes account of the complexities underlying every city: the people that live there, the political background, and of course, the peculiarities of the geographical landscape which the city sits on.
With his cosmopolitan career taking him from the low-lying cities of The Netherlands to the Alpine city of Innsbruck and to cities around the world Bart Lootsma, the architectural historian and theorist responsible for critically-acclaimed books such as SuperDutch, has been well-placed to see the effects of landscape and globalization on the individual character of places. In this extensive interview, originally titled "Beyond Branding" and published in MONU Magazine's "Geographical Urbanism" issue from April 2014, Bernd Upmeyer speaks to Lootsma about his adopted hometown of Innsbruck, and the role that geography, marketing and the collision of the two play on the identity of a city.
What is Architecture? (WIA), a small collection of interviews with influential architects from around Europe, seeks to "provide clear and concise information about architecture", thereby "forming a panoramic view of today's architectural thinking." Set up by three students of architecture residing in Innsbruck, the WIA team have interviewed the likes of Patrik Schumacher (Zaha Hadid Architects), Sir Peter Cook (CRAB Studio), Jacob and Nathalie van Rijs (MVRDV), and Ben van Berkel (UNStudio). Their collection, though small, is continually expanding.
See a selection of WIA's interviews after the break (or see the entire collection here).