After five years’ planning and construction, the car-free zone of Maria-Theresian-Straße in Innsbruck is now completed and was opened to the public with a street party on Saturday, August 6, 2011.
Converted into a pedestrian zone, the northern section of the street has already been in use for two years now and, with its choice of robust materials, has successfully withstood the daily rush of users. The granite paving now extends from the Triumph Gate to the Old Town, providing much room for urban strolls with a view of the mountains.
A redesigning of Maria-Theresien-Straße that does justice to the significance that the street has in the townscape of Innsbruck: the goal was to create an urban site with a rich atmosphere that invites strolling, hanging out, and meeting people.
The identity of the site derives from the tension between urbanity and a panoramic view into nature, between past and future, between a specific character and a connective function in the urban structure of Innsbruck.
Two defining materials, granite and brass, balance these dualities in the redesigning: a slab carpet of four different types of granite creates a coherent square surface, and a network of brass-colored ground plates with street furniture growing up from it defines the square area proper in the middle of the street.
At night, the walking zones alongside the house façades are brightly lit, while low-set lighting in the middle of the square enables a view of the mountain silhouette and the stars above.