The Salzburg Exhibition Centre developed throughout the past 20 years in a generic and utilitarian manner - ‘one box after the other’, simply according to short-term needs. Nowadays it looks like an extraneous, unrelated mass in the network of the city, and the Car Park, with its big amount of parking places (ca. 3000), physically enhances the distance between the Exhibition Centre and the surrounding.
By reflecting on the ordinary image and meaning of such ‘Non-places’, the project proposes to reshape the existing car park, in order to conceive it not as a ‘secondary service building’ nor as an ‘occupied residual space’, but rather as a new potential infrastructure for the city. It is exactly through the body of the new car park that the gap between the Exhibition Centre and the context will be sewed.
The new car park becomes an artificial platform which (along the central axis) is one floor high and which crosses the length of the whole site. Its form comes, on one hand, from the design of the surronding context and, on the other hand, from the composition of the new Exhibition Centre. The aim is to provide at the same time an external structure which is daily interacting with the city and an internal structure which is periodically independent from that.
The whole area is questioned and progressively reshaped according to the development of the new car park. Some existing halls are turned down and some other buildings (the arena and the main hall) are kept and become part of the new organism. The replacing halls are added, almost like pavilions on top of the platform, which functions for them as a plinth. The street - and the flow of cars - which comes directly from the highway, is incorporated in the platform. On one side of the platform, in between the halls and with the scale of the neighbourhood, two new public spaces are well defined. On the other side, in a strategic intersection of public areas along the rivers, a nine hectare rectangular park is created.
The long infrastructural axis, like a vein, connects all the heterogeneous elements that compose the new area. Finally, the new Exhibition Center would not be an ‘enclosed city’ nor one unique ‘out-of-scale building’, but rather an assemblage of fragments which - although defining a specific entity - are able to co-operate with the surrounding context.