Ludescher + Lutz Architekten: Vorarlberg State Library, conversion and adaptation - best architects 23

Ludescher + Lutz Architekten

Vorarlberg State Library, conversion and adaptation

best architects 23

renovation and addition


Bregenz, Austria


Gustav Willeit


Since 1986, the Vorarlberg State Library, one of Austria’s most modern, has been located on the site of a former Benedictine monastery, set at the foot of the Gebhardsberg peak. In order for the library to fulfil new functions brought about by the advent of digital media and dramatic changes in user behaviour, it was time to adapt the entrance and access situation of the main building as well as the facilities inside. The central idea behind the design was to relocate the main entrance and thus open up the library to the city while at the same time breaking the link between Babenwohl Palace and the main building, thus freeing the palace with its fourteenth-century foundation walls to stand on its own. The library is now entered via the park on the northwest side, where a generous flight of steps in keeping with the architectural style leads centrally into the former monastery building (main building). The view from afar of the complex, set amidst old-growth trees, speaks the language of the Wilhelminian period and Jugendstil. The ensemble was, so to speak, already complete with the onset of modernity. Ludescher + Lutz try to emulate this mood by using sturdy materials such as concrete, lime render and solid wood. Perhaps they have thus succeeded in creating a place where time passes more slowly: evolution rather than revolution, further development that shows appreciation for what has gone before.