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KNOWSPACE architecture + cities BDA

Courthouse Building Sankt Pölten

Photo: Thomas Ott
Photo: Thomas Ott
St. Pölten
Building type
public buildings, government buildings, authorities
building project
new building
material façade
architect award
East Centric Arhitext Award
Sankt Pölten / Austria

Christian Kronaus + Erhard An-He Kinzelbach
Project type:        
Commission after 1.prize in general planning competition

BIG Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft m.b.H.

General planning:    
ARGE Vasko+Partner Ingenieure und Kronaus Kinzelbach Architekten

Vasko+Partner Ingenieure (structure, MEP), A Quadrat (site supervision)

2.633 m2 GFA


The project resulted from a competition won by architects Christian Kronaus and Erhard An-He Kinzelbach in collaboration with Vasko+Partner Engineers. The courthouse St. Pölten asked for a building extension to house offices of the higher regional court, district court and the state proscecutor’s office.

At an urban scale, the new building closes the gap between the existing courthouse and the neighboring prison. The former is a landmarked building with three floors. A key challenge in the design of the extension was to find a solution that would respect the historical context and coherently connect old and new while, at the same time, treating the new building as a structure in its own right. The mediation between old and new does not only function in formal but also in spatial and organizational terms. In particular, a system was developed that efficiently connects the three storeys of the courthouse building with the five storeys in the new building while mediating between the differing ceiling heights.

The detailed building program forms two distinct volumes. One holds the serving programs and both functions as a separator between the old and new buildings, while it also mediates between their different floor heights and numbers. In the other volume that holds the served spaces, a folded wall divides the central corridor and the offices. It does not only separate spaces, but provides built-in file cabinets for the office interiors and adds value to the functional corridor by creating waiting and meeting areas with integral benches and lighting fixtures.

The perforated and grooved façade of the building seeks to address the old and new buildings’ discrepancy in the number and height of floors and to enhance the functionality of the new office building. The coherent application of an aluminium-copper facade integrates two factors: the horizontal grooving extends existing lining in the façade of the historic building and enriches it with additional lines that denote the new; and an irregular perforation with windows of two different sizes. As a result, the difference in storey structure is veiled and a multiplication of illumination and vista promoted: instead of conventional window positions, the facade offers overhead skylights, desk-level windows and floor-level fenestration.