The concept refers to the building’s peculiar architectonic situation and examines the sense that people make of it. A trace is drawn and marked out throughout the building, across floors, walls, ceilings, façades: another building. That other building, which stood on the site in the past, was overwritten. Above, below, to the left and right, that building is still visible (especially) at night. The earth used to be flat, and the world used to be bigger. The space remains, with or without structure.
The old building’s three-dimensional plan is brought into being in the mind by the (new old) lines, inscribing the old structures in the new space. Here or there, a niche emerges, a wall where no wall exists anymore. Sometimes a wall of the new building rests on an old one.
From the labyrinth to the shared space, architectural considerations typically aim at subdivisions, interventions, intelligent solutions designed to lend social areas in particular a lucid—or mystifying, as the case may be—cast.
This execution employs lines to give rise to an imaginary space in three dimensions within the entire building; it is legible across the levels, the façade, in the interior and exterior, leading the beholder in and back out. The lines traverse the entire building, and as art-in-architecture, they are not constrained to an assigned definite location. The imaginary space is frequented by the users no less than the new building. The spatial (sub)divisions established on the visual plane by the lines may also prompt the users to temporarily revive certain aspects of the old building’s organization.
The concept is intended as an overall plan. Not a solid work of art but an artistic deliberation. It responds to the new, no longer purely functionalist building (post-functionalist: atriums, allocation classes, rest areas) and does not declare itself a work of art in the sense of a separate and self-contained creation. The hand-drawn line is instead meant to be an instrument of communication, oscillating between wayfinding signage (providing spatial orientation in complex built structures) and a trace that narrates the space’s history.
A signage system of the sort the execution resembles is often needed only in rudimentary form in (Austrian) schools. Affixing signs identifying some things is helpful; it may also be confusing, especially for young people, and that may be okay.
Wayfinding signage establishes identity, establishes interrelations for the users.
This element of the line is visible only where the old building’s outlines meet the new lines and surfaces of the new building. When no surface or line coincides with the historic structure, no visible line results—except in the mind, as a thought, imagined conjunction. When conjunctions, when lines are up in the air or vanish in the middle of a room, they are invisible, remaining suspended in the air.
The silhouette of the demolished segment of the old schoolhouse that is being partly enlarged, partly rebuilt from the ground up serves as the guiding line in the plan. The design draws a trace, spurs the imagination and frames a look back at history, loosens the lines of the new architecture and, like all learning and teaching, revisits the existing old body … turns back the clock, encourages inferences concerning a permanent progress of bodies if fact and knowledge, and lets us see the old in a new perspective.
The objective is to convey that nothing that is created and conceived comes into being, or could come into being, without prior knowledge and without earlier achievements one can build on; and that any human achievement is subject to change, to make room, in an ongoing evolutionary process, for something new, for development and enlargement at the hands of the next generation.
Shared Space, art-in-architecture competition, BRG Krems, 2013