Linz take their turn on the pedestal

Niki May Young
Monday 15 Dec 2008

Architecture aids Austrian city as European Capital of Culture 2009

With just 15 days to go until the New Year, one city is working harder than most to prepare for their responsibilities over the coming year – Linz, European Capital of Culture 2009.

Since 1985 the European Commission has bestowed the title on one city per annum in an effort to both showcase and to improve culture within that city. The honour is awarded to the winning city which must commit itself to the pursuit of cultural excellence laid out in their proposal to the committee. Not least, this involves architecturally excellent additions which both provide new spaces and encourage architectural thought.

Linz has not ignored this responsibility and a look at the events exposes an architecturally rooted programme. The most blatant example of which is the opening of the Ars Electronica Center following the addition of a state-of-the-art lit glass façade. A 5,100 sq m glass shell is lit by special-effects lighting featuring 40,000 light-emitting diodes (LEDs). This LED façade lighting installation is the largest of its kind in Europe. A unique feature of the technology being utilized in Linz is the possibility of producing a pure white. With it, the AEC can be transformed at the push of a button into a “white crystal”.

Pixel Hotel represents an art and architecture project offering accommodation of a very special kind. In an analogy to pixels on a screen the rooms of this hotel form the smallest units of the cityscape. Rooms that are unused at present and that are dispersed all over Linz are being adapted for this purpose. Industrial hangars, business premises, council housing. The hotel pixels crop up anywhere.

Picking up an architectural campaign, Silence in the City, in association with the Linz Art University’s Architectural Programme, creates controversy by questioning the place that noise has in our society and an architectural ‘deafness’ which facilitates this form of pollution. Renovating Ruhepol Centralkino, an old cinema in the heart of Linz’s shopping district, architecture students have created a noiseless retreat in which to hear nothing but your thoughts.

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Urban design

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