Klagenfurt City Hall - the roofing over of the courtyard and installation of a lift
1993 - 1996
GMMK , Foto: Elisabeth Mayr-Keber , Gert M. MAYR-KEBER ZT-GmbH. Rathaus Klagenfurt Liftanbau 1993-1998

Under the aspect of improvements to the access areas and major extension work to the ground floor of the City Hall, this project provided for the inclusion of the currently unused courtyard into the usable space of the building, as well as the installation of a lift. The excavation of a basement below the courtyard to accommodate archives was also proposed.

In connection with Klagenfurt's successful bid, under the motto 'senza confini', to be the city to represent Austria in the competition to host the Olympic Games in 2006, the improvements to the attraction of the City Hall can represent an essential factor for activities taking place at this location. Intended as a permanent institution, premises with direct access from the Neuer Platz are to be designed for the individual participating regions of Friauli, Slovenia and Carinthia, in which each country or province can present itself. A small café, to include seating in the roofed-over courtyard as well as a 'guest garden' on the Neuer Platz in summer, will enliven the new areas, which will be accessible from three sides.

On the individual architectonic approaches: Historically, the original courtyard had two entrances, from the Neuer Platz on one side and from Pernhartgasse on the other, and gave access to the open stairways leading up to the first floor as well as the stables on the south side, thus forming a uniform but climatically exposed unit. Through the roofing over of the courtyard, these spaces will once again be connected, but this time protected from the elements.

This will create a new centre which can be used for events such as presentations, readings and concerts, and which will give the appropriate importance to the overcrowded passageway that currently serves as a foyer. Through the opening up of access from Pernhartgasse and to the arcaded courtyard of the adjacent building, this centre and the City Hall itself have been opened up and made more accessible to the city's inhabitants.

The lift, as a modern technological extension to the historical building, will be placed in the courtyard as a cylindrical object  and together with the sheet wall forming the limits of the platform, will form a unit which in combination with the existing structure will establish a new scale of proportion. Seemingly sliced off the existing east façade and placed at an angle, this wall becomes an architectonic element placed into an existing orthogonal system which divides the newly-created interior space while also defining it. The circular window, employed as a large-scale form, indicates the location of the City Hall Chamber and is intended to symbolise unity and community.

The area immediately in front of the lift on all floors was conceived on an open plan and the floors are differentiated from each other by differently-shaped platforms, thus creating a single space within which all floors are simultaneously visible, thus facilitating orientation.

The glass roof is proposed as an inclined surface on an aluminium construction spanning the courtyard without vertical supports.