Urban Spaces

The so-called functions of existence, ‘ living’, ‘working’, ‘providing for oneself ’, ‘educating oneself ’, ‘maintaining health’, ‘ living in a community’, ‘participating in society’, ‘disposal of waste’ and ‘participating in communication’, are incorporated in the urban environment and in the world that we construct around us. How we can participate and in which functions, makes the status of civil society clear. There is always potential for development.

Living in Dornbirn has many faces. Living standards vary greatly, from small to large, from substandard to luxury, from cramped and enclosed to light and airy, in buildings
of all ages that tell stories of their users and their possibilities and demands. The vitality of the city Shows in their diversity. The contradiction of living as an essential requirement to the building as an asset is paramount to the current discussion. No house has answers to all questions in the world. However, the aspects that it thematises should be well laid out. Nearly 20 years after ist construction, the ‘Atriumhaus’ in Dornbirn’s Oberdorf district is still an exceptional project. It is a meeting of thoughts on neighbourhood development and ecological, social and aesthetic demands.

Working life is also easily readable from the cityscape. Industry, commerce and trade characterise the structure of a town. However, the past histories of former industries
remain beyond the revitalisation of their Locations and factory buildings: Kehlerpark is today a location for work, shopping, the Dornbirn music school also holds its
jazz seminars there, making it a highly-frequented Location for young musicians. The Stadtgarten in Dornbirn is home to inatura and the Kunstraum Dornbirn. Both of these cultural institutions are housed in historical industrial architecture. The same applies to the high School campus of the Fachhochschule Vorarlberg (University
of Applied Sciences) on Sägerstraße/Stadtstraße. Many companies, as well as restaurants, have today found a home in Steinebach, the former production site of the textiles company F.M. Hämmerle. With ‘Gütle’, a Museum completes the repertoire of follow-up use. Rhomberg’s former factory is now completely dedicated to cultural
pursuits, commerce and residential. New production facilities don’t have an easy task of living up to the Standards of their predecessors. Innovations in commercial
buildings are delivered in the form of, for example, LCT 1, Life Cycle Tower 1, a development by Cree in conjunction with the architect firm Hermann Kaufmann. The building
is the first eight-storey timber construction in Austria and is a prototype within a research project on timber construction systems. The building is home to offices
and the headquarters of the construction company Cree.

inatura - Erlebnis Naturschau © Norbert Gorbach, inatura - Erlebnis Naturschau
Rolls-Royce Museum © Petra Rainer, Bodensee-Vorarlberg Tourismus GmbH

Shopping opportunities are important to a town – not only for visitors. Items required for daily use must be available in the city as a necessity for the day-to-day living
of the people residing in it. The activation of ground floor areas together with the street areas adjoining them and the backyard areas behind them transforms the city
centre into a living space. The cultural changes brought about by the shopping environment is shown by Projects such as ‘Marenda Brotkultur’. ‘Marenda’ means snack.
The establishment is a mixture of shop and café. Public space gains in significance for its importance.
Public space gains in significance for its importance to public wellbeing. The differentiation between public and private interests becomes a pivotal question. This is also
good for architecture, which proves here to be a social practice where requirements can be clearly formulated. Public buildings and spaces are particularly complex concepts.
In its construction projects, the city of Dornbirn has many times confirmed its role as paragon of design quality. For example, recently in the design of a section
of Stadtstraße and the recent construction of the Sägerbrücke (bridge). The metaphor ‘The bridge as an island’ makes it very clear that the idea of being a space for pedestrians to enjoy is an integral part of the concept.

Schaufelschluchtbrücke © Wolfgang Holzer

In 2009 Dornbirn also decreed a school development concept, which puts in place an investment schedule for compulsory schools and kindergartens up to the year
2030. The focus is clearly on the quality of educational space and variety in the city, even if this is partly through the spatial adaptation and renovation of existing spaces. An alternative school has been constructed, taking in new students every 1-2 years while their own educational facilities are renovated or constructed. Recently
constructed as brand new facilities are the kindergarten on Marktstraße, designed by architects Marte.Marte, and the primary school Edlach, designed by architects Dietrich
Untertrifaller. Both top notch pieces of architecture. The city baths, das stadtbad, has been one of the main attractions on Stadtstraße since 2005. Of key importance,
however, is its function as sports venue and Relaxation and convalescence centre. The architects cukrowicz nachbaur won the competition allowing them to redesign and
expand the existing building from the 1960s and embedded the entire complex in a park-like garden environment. The high demands of the city of its building culture is
also shown in its infrastructural projects. The city now has three bridges, planned by the hands of brothers Stefan and Bernhard Marte, in the wildly romantic Ebnittal valley.
Socially relevant: the city has thus made this small Settlement in the high mountain valley permanently accessible.