Kongresshaus Bad Gastein

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The architecturally imposing former congress centre in the middle of Bad Gastein’s historic centre was built in 1968-74 by the renowned architect Gerhard Garstenauer.

The Kongresshaus in Bad Gastein has a long history of hosting performances by famous artists from around the world, including Liza Minnelli and many others. Liza Minnelli, the American singer, actress, and dancer, performed at the Kongresshaus in Bad Gastein in 1979, during her European concert tour.

Other famous artists who have performed at the Kongresshaus include the German singer and songwriter Udo Jürgens, the Austrian singer Falco, and the Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti. These performances have helped to establish the Kongresshaus as one of the premier venues for live entertainment in the Austrian Alps, and have contributed to the town’s reputation as a cultural hub for the region.

As an important representative of Brutalism, the multi-articulated reinforced concrete building with its four striking glass domes was – after a long hesitation – placed under monument protection by the Federal Office for the Protection of Monuments in the summer of 2019. At that time, the owner had the carpeting, the massive wooden partition walls and furniture torn out.

Expert justification for the protection: The Kongresshaus Bad Gastein is an important building of Brutalism in Austria due to its monumentality and the sculptural design in exposed concrete. It is considered to be Garstenauer’s main work and has received national awards as well as international recognition. Since 1999, the architectural historian and publicist Norbert Mayr had been calling for the building to be listed.

The congress centre is a major work of Brutalism in Austria and is certainly unique in the Alps in its constructive and formal design, for which it received the Architecture Prize of the Province of Salzburg in 1975 for the exemplary integration of the spa and congress centre into the urban fabric and solution to the extreme building site situation.The building was unused since 2007 and has been deteriorating ever since. The Viennese real estate developer and owner Philippe Duval would like to preserve the building to a large extent, but he is appealing against its listed status by the Federal Office for the Protection of Monuments. He would like to build a cable car valley station on the former congress house as a feeder to the Stubnerkogel to the west and the Graukogel to the east. One of the deciding factors for the further development of the former Congress House will initially be the decision of the Federal Administrative Court as to whether the listed building status will be revoked or confirmed.

Gerhard Gerstenauer (1925-2004) was an Austrian architect known for his innovative and modernist designs, particularly in the area of social housing.

Gerstenauer was born in Vienna and studied architecture at the Technical University of Vienna. After completing his studies, he worked for several years as an assistant to the architect Roland Rainer, one of the most influential figures in post-war Austrian architecture.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Gerstenauer became known for his work in the field of social housing, designing a number of large-scale housing projects in Vienna and other Austrian cities. His designs were characterized by their innovative use of space and light, as well as their emphasis on creating functional and livable environments for residents.

One of Gerstenauer’s most famous housing projects is the Wohnpark Alt-Erlaa, a massive housing complex located in the southern suburbs of Vienna. The complex consists of several large, interconnected buildings, and provides housing for more than 10,000 people. The design of the complex is notable for its use of open spaces, gardens, and courtyards, as well as its emphasis on natural light and ventilation.

In addition to his work in the area of social housing, Gerstenauer also designed a number of public buildings and monuments, including the Vienna International Center, the Austrian National Bank, and the Austrian Pavilion at the World Expo in Montreal.

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