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Ernst Beneder :
Square Design in Waidhofen an der Ybbs

Waidhofen a.d. Ybbs, 2001
Eberhardplatz, 3340 Waidhofen an der Ybbs


The revitalisation programme by the architect Ernst Beneder includes the design of the town square, the restructuring of the complete traffic network and the improvement of the relevant infrastructure, the modernisation of the old town hall, and the placement of a number of individual architectural elements, such as two fountains.

Affluence and self-confidence of past centuries have left their mark on the face of the town of Waidhofen an der Ybbs, one of the oldest and most beautiful communities in Lower Austria (first mentioned as a town in 1277). Yet the old structures soon posed a problem with the increasing traffic volume and urgent measures were called for. The town decided to advertise a competition in 1991, which the Vienna based architect Ernst Beneder clearly won for himself. What started out as a traffic and design concept gradually turned into a full revitalisation programme with town fathers and citizen representatives participating in a lively but highly constructive dialogue. The programme has become effective for all areas of town and was also awarded the Otto Wagner town planning prize in 2001.

Armed with a wide range of measures Beneder set out to restructure entire streets and to equip them with the infrastructure necessary for street festivals, country festivals, etc. He provided plans for modernising the old town hall and upgrading the neglected river bank, turning it into an idyllic recreational area fo residents. He added several structural elements to the town such as a fountain in the lower town square where the water flows, ripples and trickles down a circular perforated glass plate like rain in slow motion, before it is finally caught in a square stone basin. The entire townscape has been infused with new incentive, self-confidently yet sparingly applied. Waidhofen not only works better, it has also gained aesthetically.
(Gabriele Kaiser)