A treasure map of concrete

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Sculptural facade for the new research and collection centre in Hall / Tyrol.

The new research and collection centre in Hall is a veritable treasure chest: This is where millions of collection pieces of the Tyrolean Landesmuseen are carefully preserved – from a 3,000-year-old mummy and stone-age wedges to the string instruments of the legendary Tyrolean violin maker, Jakob Stainer. The design by the architectural offices, Franz&Sue is a striking, monolithic block with a dark and mysterious facade made of glassfibre reinfoced concrete elements, protecting the region’s cultural heritage at the foot of the Tyrolean Alps.

Only a small portion of the rectangular flat building is visible. The bulk of the volume was built into the body of the earth, which now encloses the storage rooms and ensures constant climatic conditions in the rooms keeping the cultural treasures. While the collection pieces must be protected from sunlight, the workrooms require daylight for the almost 35 employees. The architects’ solution was cut an atrium into the building volume around which is divided into offices and workshops.


Rieder preserves Tyrol’s most precious treasures

The striking architecture underscores the bold landscape of the Tyrolean mountains. The dark grey outer skin with the concrete skin product by Rieder lends the research and collection centre its mysterious character. “The facade material tells a story of preservation and conservation. At the same time, the haptic of the concrete creates a certain attraction,” explains Erwin Stättner of the architectural office, Franz&Sue. “With the elaborate design of the building envelope, we want to connect the old with the new and make it distinguishable: A hand axe from the seventh to eighth millennium is one of the oldest tools of the collection. It is the imprint of that tool that is visible on the deformed concrete slabs.” The irregular arrangement of the smooth and deformed 60×60 centimetre elements is a metaphorical reference to the distribution of the places of discovery in Tyrol, whereas the jointing grid symbolizes the square lines on maps.


More than 719 unique concrete elements

For the facade design, Rieder, together with the architectural office, has developed a new product which combines the industrial production process of the merely 13 millimetre thick glassfibre reinforced concrete panels with an artisanal component. The result: Each of the deformed facade elements is just as unique as the collection pieces that are kept in the research and collection centre. The production uses an object similar to the hand axe, over which the material is applied. The hardening of the glassfibre reinfoced concrete results not only in the desired imprint, but also in a material-specific, unique fold design, marking the character of each element and giving the facade of the monolithic building its liveliness.


Durable and sustainable

However, it is not only the ductility of the glassfibre reinforced concrete that lends the outer skin of buildings a certain liveliness and variety, but also the material itself. The panels by Rieder are very thin, a mere 13 millimetres , light and yet extremely resistant. Moreover, they are easy to handle during installation and require no maintenance over the years. With their long-term stability of more than 50 years, they do not need be sanded or painted and they are not combustible.


Partner for special solutions

Together with architects, planners and customers, the elements of glassfibre reinforced concrete are developed and tailor-made for the respective project in the factory of the family business. Rieder employs a team, dedicated exclusively to the support of architects and planners in the implementation of complex projects. The aesthetics and functionality of the solution are factored in as much as cost-efficiency. In recent years, Rieder has evolved from a pure panel manufacturer to the provider of solutions for complex building shells.

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