The right angle
Apr 26, 2016

The Civic Center in St. Marienkirchen, near Schärding in Austria is a place where people meet and are active together. United under a single roof are the municipal authority, commercial tenants, rehearsal rooms for the State School of Music and a large events hall. The consciously plain volume was designed by Pauat Architekten ZT GmbH. On the bright podium rests a second, far higher storey clad in copper – the spacious glass window frontage references the events hall and rehearsal rooms behind. One special feature of the building: its striking façade, consisting of Colt sunshade louvers that are almost five meters’ high.

The Civic Center’s different uses translate into different lighting requirements. To do justice to this, the architects chose a high-grade shading system and in fact accorded the sun shades a decisive role in the design: Thanks to the movable aluminum louvers by Colt, the façade can seem more open or more closed, depending on the sunlight and the users’ wishes. For all the matter-of-fact nature of the building’s rectangular volume, it thus has a playful, light touch to it. The louver blades are only 70 centimeters wide and come from Colt’s “Shadometal” series; each can be adjusted as required across an angle of up to 120 degrees. With 30 louvers across almost 25 meters of frontage, arranged in ten different sets, there are countless, often changing arrangements and the façade is thus forever being reconfigured. This is possible as the “Shadometal” system boasts a control unit for each set of blades – it can be activated by the press of a button. And on the inside of the building the perforated aluminum Colt louvers deliver just the right light and mood – which is after all a not unimportant detail precisely for concerts and for rehearsals, too. (rw)

The clear volume and the choice of materials ensure the Civic center claims its place in a very heterogeneous setting and defines the heart of St. Marienkirchen. Photo © Marcel Peda

The louvers in the Shadometal shade system are grouped in different sets of blades and can be adjusted individually. This brings a playful element to the rigor of the facade. Photo © Marcel Peda

The movable metal louvers are made of aluminum that is at least 3mm thick, has several bends and is made from a single piece. The metal louvers are perforated, but the edges are not, allowing customized light transmission. Photo © Marcel Peda

The 30 individual louvers can be adjusted across 10 different groups, emphasizing the animated impression of the architecture as a whole. Photo © Marcel Peda

The louvers swivel soundlessly and with a minimum of energy required – this is crucial for the rehearsal rooms here in the St. Marienkirchen Civic Center. Photo © Marcel Peda