Salzburg’s living beauty

Housing alone does not make for a great residential quarter, and the former Riedenburg barracks in Salzburg demonstrates the crucial role of landscape architecture.

The basic idea

In this modern adaptation, the new grounds are integrated into existing structures, offering residents multiple ways to connect and spend time. The proportions of urban and public spaces vary within the Quarter, but every area is unified within the concept. Kirsten Schomakers, an architect at Agence GmbH Landschaftsarchitekten, played a key role in developing the idea for this new residential district's open spaces.

She explains:

The open space was to provide differing atmospheres ranging from semi-private entry areas right near the apartments, to urban plazas, and from quiet places to spend tim,e to bustling, busy spaces. The Rainberg outcrop was to remain visible at all times despite dense development, and the open spaces in the Quarter helped create sight lines for people to find their way.

Integration with the environment is achieved through three elements of open spaces, which differ in spatial effect while still opening up eastwards toward the green Rainberg. This creates balance between an urban feel and nature, offering multiple spacess for residents and neighbors. The three landscape passages are:

  • an urban entrance area to the north
  • a topographical green zone
  • a southern entrance area

A view of the Salzburg Riedenburg residential quarter, opened in September 2018

Urban entrance area to the north

The Kattundruckerplatz plaza is located at the northern entrance. In addition to holding a public transport stop, this area features a beautiful Biedermeier-style villa. The plaza also functions as a foyer and reception zone for office and small business tenants. The design elements on the Kattundruckerplatz reflect the craftsmanship of cotton printers. The plaza is separated by fragrant American yellowwood trees. These greenery yield a textile dye, recalling a time when cotton printing works were located in the adjacent area.

Northern entrance area with fragrant American yellowwood trees

Topographical green zone and southern entrance area

A large greenspace in the middle of the grounds is a good spot for public gatherings or leisure time. This open area begins in an urban setting at the western entrance, to Moosstrasse with a kindergarten and community building, and extends to the Leopoldskronstrasse at the eastern end.

Large greenspace reaching from the western entrance to the eastern outskirts

The design draws one's gaze across the grounds, to the green mass of the Rainberg. There are numerous viewing points and places to spend time and relax. The area is criss-crossed by foot and cycle paths, and a noise insulation wall at the eastern border buffers against traffic noise on the Leopoldskronstrasse.

The noise barrier on the eastern outskirts shown in the model serves as a viewing platform for the Rainberg, and can be used for sledding in the winter

The area at the noise barrier is modeled as a place for people to spend time, both in the summer and for sledding in winter. A small lookout platform affords a view of the Rainberg and out over the new Quarter. A variety of trees punctuate the plaza. The clinker brick building has been re-purposed for cultural usage, while the plaza connects to the entrance area of this new cultural center.

The southernmost cluster also opens up in the direction of the Rainberg

A little color makes all the difference

The new residential and office buildings on the site are grouped into clusters of three buildings. Semi-private courtyard terraces stand out from the rest of the park-like landscape, each with a minor difference in level, and using foliage to full effect. In each cluster, the exterior facades and vegetation are color-coordinated to yield an aesthetic balance of warm and cool tones. The courtyard terrace of each cluster, in combination with the greenery and exterior facades, create a unique atmosphere that will change throughout the seasons. To visually relativize the size of the residential buildings, plans provide for fruit trees of appropriate colors, including cherry, apple, pear and medlar. This organization into colored clusters also provides orientation as on walks way through the Quarter.

The new buildings are grouped in clusters of three; the exterior facades and greenery are color-coordinated

Path through the Quarter and views

A path winds its way through the Quarter from north to south, guiding pedestrians through open greenspaces, connecting buildings, and helps creates inviting places to spend time. The path snakes through the grounds, providing access to all public areas. The apartments and court terraces are slightly elevated, allowing views onto the green spaces.

The architectural clusters are complemented by three elements: passage areas opening toward the Rainberg (left, center, right), courtyard terraces with private entrances (yellow) and the path with activity areas (green)

How can landscape architecture be made more sustainable?

Kirsten Schomakers knows answers to this question: using indigenous trees, plants and materials supplied from nearby sources, public areas are made robust and timeless. Schomakers emphasizes the importance of greenspaces:

Green areas collect water, improving the urban climate. Besides being a good design element, they are key for creating high-quality spaces where people enjoy spending time. Sufficient soil cover on roof terraces and underground parking garages prevents structures from heating up, and releases rainwater into the environment more slowly.

You can read more about the drainage challenges in the Riedenburg Quarter here.

Are you in need of a sustainable drainage solution? Our specialists would be happy to help.
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Gottfried Graspointner
Sales advisor north Austria
BG-Graspointner GmbH
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