Location West Railway Station, Villach, Carinthia, Austria
Population 61,800 inhabitants
Strategic site 7.8 ha - Project site 3.5 ha
Site proposed byCity of Villach
Actors involved City of Villach, Austrian Railway Company (ÖBB)
Owner of the siteCity of Villach, ÖBB Group
Commission after competition Strategic urban concept as a base for further development steps
Team representative Architect - urbanist - landscaper
How can the site contribute to a productive city?
Villach’s E15 site negotiates an exciting position between up-and-coming, diverse suburbia and the lively, historic city centre. Its location is the gap between the heart of the old town with its cafes, little shops and narrow alleys and suburbia with its schools, army base, climbing centre and industrial sites. Unique potential lies in the regional railway station which is part of the ambitious development area. Though currently only used moderately it possesses the powerful ability to branch out into the region, enabling access to and from the city and mediating between different speeds. Paired with a visionary mobility strategy, innovative synergies between production, recreation and housing are required. Promote the site as a hinge and unfold an exceptional, experimental pilot project for Villach.
Villachs’s urban development concept proposes the West Railway Station Site (E15 site) as one of five target areas for development within the next few years. The ambition of the city and the site-owner is to establish an exceptional, hybrid, innovative urban quarter, which reaches out to and anchors its surroundings. Its strength is its immediate proximity to the old town and the existing railway station. Excellent access to the region and the city is at hand and the cycle-path-network that runs along the site enhances this. Soft mobility will be a key driver for this unique location and needs to be dealt with boldly. Make use of the fact that approx.1500 people pass through the site on a daily basis.
The E15 site consists of two parts, which are not directly connected but are in close proximity. The first part (site A) is only five minutes’ walk away from the very heart of the city – a prime location! However it finds itself on an ‘imaginary’ threshold between what is perceived as the in- ner-city-core and the suburban area. Its current function as a car park enforces this image. The second, bigger part of the site (B) is an urban wasteland - currently also used as a temporary parking lot. It is located next to railway tracks and a railway station. Embedded into a neighbou- rhood with many schools, sport facilities and an army base, it has great potential to become a vibrant hub. A strategic use of the interplay of these two sites will be crucial.
How is production inserted in the urban diversity programme?
Seemingly opposing forces, such as the surrounding region, the imme- diate area of the inner city, suburbia, etc. open up a vast field of potential synergies. Many fascinating threads need to be picked up and the pro- ject offers the compelling chance to knit them together. With the city’s ambition to introduce more vibrancy and relevance, production and its related fields will provide a major driving force to implement a new iden- tity and boost the area. The creation of an autonomous quality within a new hybrid setting is desired. The main challenge is to strategically connect the ‘valuable’ parameters at hand - such as proximities, mobility and flow of people - into a mixed spatial and programmatic setting which anchors the site. It’s the perfect matrix for a manifold of production facilities to settle here. The city wants to implement a new mobility strategy; its origin should be at the E15 site. Excellent accessibility is a given. The city wants to see a hybridity in housing, production and recreation and asks for an innovative approach to implement a contemporary identity. A unique testing ground for a new vision is at your disposal – go on and FILL THE GAP!