Building project: Revitalisation and adaptation of the former cavalry barracks (built in 1842) in Graz for university use.
Use: University with foyer, administration rooms, offices, rehearsal rooms, and music rooms. An underground car park and catering facilities were also housed in the building.
Years of neglect had turned the Reiterkaserne in Graz / St. Leonhard, built in 1841–42, into an ugly complex. Adaptation of the site for use by Graz University of Music and Performing Arts promised to enhance the complex substantially and to transform it into a vibrant, busy location in the urban context. The revitalisation measures comprised removing installations and annexes to the existing structure, uncovering existing vaults on the ground floor, and opening the walled-up arcade walkway running around the inside of the U-shaped complex. Each of these was fronted with an additional, glazed layer intended, on the one hand, to bring light into the rooms behind them, while at the same time housing new facilities, and – emphasised by the characteristic presence of the pillars – quoting the “old” arcades. The listed façade of the south wing was preserved unchanged. Along Leonhardstraße, the existing walls were removed and a stand-alone building connected by a corridor was added to the two side wings. Being set back from the road, this creates a little square in front that underscores the function of the new building as an entrance and foyer building. The openness of this front building on the ground floor forges a link to the inner courtyard. Previously used as a car park, the courtyard now serves as a leafy recreational area, with the various functions arranged around it. Many of the architectural interventions are characterised by the themes of front/side and transparency/opacity. The façade of the new building facing Leonhardstraße, for example, is a kind of brace for the two side wings, subtly divided, homogeneous and “opaque” from the outside. From the inside, however, it affords a good view through and, in the evening, the effect is inverted, with the building shining out invitingly into the surrounding roadspace. The proportions and rhythm of the façade looking on to the courtyard mimic those of the existing building, room-high glazing and markedly set back door frames correspond to the openness of the side wings abutting in the east and west, but equally create a counterpoint to the front of the opposite wing, that is calmer and less open. In keeping with the wishes of the university occupants to lend the overall site a certain character of a “workshop” by means of the choice of materials and finishing.
adress: Leonhardstraße 8010 Graz, Austria
client: Reiterkaserne Projektentwicklungs GesmbH & Co KEG
tenant: University of Music and Performing Arts Graz – KUG
usable floor space 1.section: 3.041 m²
site area: 5.670 m²
cross floor space including basement floor and underground carpark: 8.900 m²
start of planning: 09/2004
start of construction: 08/2005
building cost net: 7.8 Mio. EUR
construction supervision and coordination: Jörg Wiehn ZT GmbH
new building structural consultant: Wendl ZT GmbH
historical building structural consultant: Dr. DI Siegfried Hiebl
electrical concept and building services: TB Ing. Ogrisek
construction physics and acoustics: Rosenfelder & Höfler