Sitting Pretty: Austrian Bus Stops Get High-Design Makeover

A tiny Austrian village has put itself on the design map by commissioning international architects to create local bus stops. The sophisticated structures are proving popular with locals.

It's an unlikely location for experimental architecture, but the focus of the project is even unlikelier. The tiny Austrian village of Krumbach has commissioned international architecture firms to build avant-garde bus stops.

The first of seven bus stop shelters has already been built in the hamlet of just 1,000 residents, where busses pass by daily until midnight.

The "Bus:Stop" project was conceived by Krumbach's cultural association, which hired prominent Austrian architect Dietmar Steiner to act as curator. Though he counts major architects from around the world among his contacts, he chose to maintain a boutique feel: "No starchitects, just small offices with sculptural interest."

And, instead of monetary compensation, the architects are to receive a week's vacation in the area located in the western state of Vorarlberg instead. Volunteers are running the project, which is mostly privately funded, and local handworkers and residents are also providing work and materials for free.

Steiner invited seven international architecture firms from Chile, Belgium, Norway, Russia, China, Spain and Japan to take part. "It was a miracle," he said. "Within four weeks all of the offices had agreed."

They traveled to Krumbach to survey their locations, and were all impressed by the "traditional craftsmanship, local materials like wood and the detail-rich building culture," he says.

Locals, in turn, are curious and taking a pragmatic approach to the idea, says the mayor. "Innovative ideas arise from the exchange and examination of other cultures," he says, adding that Krumbach was looking for "inspiration and new ways of seeing."

 -- with reporting by Ingeborg Wiensowski

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1. Austrian Bus Stops
skywriter134 10/15/2013
The last picture is the one that seems the most user friendly. Benches are necessary, not chairs, to accommodate several people, and they should be sturdy enough for children to jump on and not too low so older people can get up out of them easily.
2. Similar events
rajhiker 10/15/2013
Cummins Engine Co., Columbus, Indiana, USA for years has paid for "any world architect" desired for town public buildings. The result, a collection of beautiful "old" as well as futuristic schools, churches, a magnificent Mansard Court House worth a tour. Cummins engines, founded by a chauffeur, power a large proportion of our diesel 18 wheeler trucks. The company labored for 20 years before it turned a profit.
3. optional
ilsehoyle 10/16/2013
Great idea. I would love to see something like this anywhere.
4. Fugly
wernercomplex 10/16/2013
IMO except for the next to last picture, these designs look like they've been hurriedly done by 1st year architectural students. Some of them could already qualify for the title of "architectural atrocity".
5. thermal model training
infi.grahamclyde 11/15/2013
I appreciate your writing, Your article contains something very unique information. You are talking about bus stop in your article, this is very unique and new thinking. Nobody thinks about that but you mentioned in your article.
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