Design Studio IKA Academy of fine Arts, Vienna
Masters Summer Semester 2012
Michelle Howard and Christian Fröhlich


What we assume today to be "natural" landscape can most often reveal itself to have been touched and moulded by man at some point in its history, from complete transformation to the smallest adjustment. Our project this semester is situated in Lower Austria in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Yet even here the pristine lake in its natural setting turns out to be a reservoir used primarily for the generation of electricity.
The students designed a footbridge at point chosen by them which crosses the river Ötscher, this river of almost transparent water runs through breathtaking terrain, its valley wide in some parts and narrowing considerably at the Ötschergraben. Care must be taken as to the usage patterns of the area where the proposed placement and type of footbridge will contribute to its existing qualities. The span will be determined by the terrain, a large span in the less sensitive points or a small span in the points of greatest aesthetic compromise?
The sensitivity of the existing terrain demands that any proposed structure involve as little excavation and remodelling as possible. Embodied energy is important when considering the proposed structure; what in the end is kinder to this environment, transporting specialised woods from the other side of the world or using concrete which is manufactured 2 km from the site?
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