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Eduard-Wallnöfer-Platz in Innsbruck, Austria by LAAC Architekten and Stiefel Kramer Architecture

Disparate monumental elements are tied together by an in-situ concrete landscape

The integration of the square into the circulatory system of the city is a much-debated topic. Camillo Sitte’s 1889 artistic principles of town planning – which meant a re-emphasis on the sensory experience of urban space, not simply an appeal to the picturesque – advocated irregularity as opposed to the gridiron, intimacy rather than immensity, enclosure not exposure. One of Sitte’s particular bugbears was the central positioning of monuments in squares, which he believed interrupted the sensation of space.

One such object – a monument to Austria’s liberation from fascism – occupies the centre of Innsbruck’s largest square, presenting a significant challenge to its recent reconfiguration, as does the huge Nazi-era public building to the north, whose form is echoed in the monument. There are also a further three monuments in the square: in order to tie the disparate elements together, the architects designed an in-situ concrete landscape of geological undulations. The flowing nature of the space certainly accords with the spirit of Sitte, and, curiously, also with Patrik Schumacher’s call for a parametric urbanism – indeed, it comes far closer towards suturing the city than Schumacher’s own incongruous designs.