Seven distinct bus shelters by seven different architects open for use in the village of Krumbach in Austria
What started out as an unusual idea became reality in May - seven bus shelters designed by international architects and implemented in close collaboration with seven regional partner architects and local craftspeople have been erected in the village of Krumbach in Austria and are now "in use".
The architecture of the state of Vorarlberg in Austria enjoys widespread recognition in the international architecture scene, attracting some 30,000 visitors annually. But the BUS:STOP Krumbach project sought to turn this perspective on its head. Why not deliberately turn the gaze outwards and invite international architects to come to the Bregenzerwald region in Voralberg to get an idea of the special regional characteristics, and engage in an intensive dialogue with the region's traditions, architecture and handcraft? With professional partners in the shape of the Architekturzentrum Wien, director Dietmar Steiner as curator, and vai Vorarlberger Architektur Institut, the Kultur Krumbach association invited seven architects' practices from all around the world to design seven new bus shelters for the community of Krumbach.
The village with some 1,000 residents has a bus service which operates on an almost hourly basis - most unusual for a rural area. In addition to promoting an unconventional, border-crossing exchange of ideas between architecture and skilled craftsmanship, as well as different vocabularies and schools of thought, the project also drew attention to a well-functioning daily transport service.
How the project developed
In April 2013, the invited architects visited the village for three days to form an idea of the landscape, the people, their traditions and the culture of building.
By summer 2013, all the architects - Alexander Brodsky (Russia), Rintala Eggertsson Architects (Norway), Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu (Belgium), Ensamble Studio/Antón Garcia-Abril and Débora Mesa (Spain), Smiljan Radic (Chile), Amateur Architecture Studio/Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu (China), and Sou Fujimoto (Japan) - had provided their designs and selected regional craftspeople were able to start work. Beginning in autumn and working until just before the opening on 1 May, with the support of more than 70 sponsors and suppliers, the 20 regional handcraft businesses involved in the project transformed good ideas into works of high quality.
An exhibition on the project opened on 8 May at the vai Vorarlberger Architektur Institut in Austria.
"Important for both the project and the exhibition is the successful connection of infrastructure and mobility for the rural area," explains Verena Konrad, Director of vai Vorarlberger Architektur Institut.
In addition to models, the exhibition presents photographs and film material about the making of the seven little bus shelters. It will remain on show in vai until 2 August 2014. From 17 September to 6 October 2014 it will be presented in the Architekturzentrum Wien.