For a planned visitors center in Hainburg for the Donau-Auen National Park, a dramaturgical concept was developed to illuminate the hidden machinations and invisible processes of this special wetland biotope. The host Wasserturm, a 13th-century octagonal water tower in the Hainburg city wall, and the parasitic architectural gesture by Coop Himmelblau provided a complex spatial condition already full of story. In the linear procession through the proposed spaces the dramaturgical concept mediates the overlapping interests of architects, politicians, scientists, archaeologists, and tourists, while rendering perceptible the idiosyncratic ecology of the Danube Wetlands to visitors without disturbing the processes.

 

Rejecting the approach of a museum of dead objects, an observatorium consisting of a flexible infrastructure of digital and analog interfaces extends the senses into these hidden realms and scales, the reason why behind the notorious Green demonstrations of 1984. The Wasserturm theater-elevator has a manifold function: A panorama animated sequence allows the visitors to experience a hallucinatory voyage through the various role players involved in this biotope. The deactivation of the LSD controlled glass reveals other dark secrets in the architecture and history of this sacred place.

 

 

Visitors exit unto a glass bridge where the stunning view thematizes Hainburg's border condition through history, from the edge of the Roman Empire to its present position in the "Dreilšndereck". Diverse content relating to the origins and the destination of the Danube River, from a geo[morpho]logical level to the dramatization of the international importance of the river on trans-historical, cultural, mythological, and scientific levels, flow down the (ridiculous emergency exit) staircase design. Descending back to the entrance hall, this space functions as a plenary node in an overlapping network of sight-seeing tours for visitors to experience the natural and cultural landscape surrounding Hainburg.

 

 

Research, copy, and design of concept book/slideshow presentation for the Projektteam Besucherzentrum Wasserturm Hainburg.
Research partner: Dr. Gerald Navara.
Architecture: Coop Himmelblau.
Project concept commissioned by Nofrontiere Design, Vienna.