‘Tired of life in the shadows’ arises from a quote from a resident of Rattenberg, the ‘glass town’ of Tirol, Austria. For 3 months every year the town is shadowed by the mountain it takes it’s name from, leaving it depressing and empty. This phenomenon has reached such a level that the town’s residents are struggling with as many as 1 in 5 estimated to be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). As Austria’s smallest town (as few as 450 residents), it’s once booming economy focusing on the production of fine glass and crystal is now heavily reliant on the tourism the industry brings to the area. With the lack of sunlight in the winter months, tourism plummets to almost zero and growing emigration of the residents is only making situation worse.
My proposal seeks to rejuvenate the town, providing a public space for the residents, linking the old town with the railway station and showing off the town’s famous glass works. The proposal covers the dark mountainside in small heliostat mirrors bouncing light into the public spaces below and lighting up the dark shadowy mountain above. Mirror arrays across the skin of the predominantly glass structure of a main public building, are free to move in the wind and rain and direct ever changing light throughout the spaces. Residents and tourists alike are provided a park space wrapping around an open glassblowing workshop showcasing the industry at the heart of the local community, also situated immediately adjacent to the railway and toursit car parks. The key to the proposal is the ever changing qualities of direct sunlight, aided by the refraction and movement of light found in glass and water, as a focus to improve the health and wellbeing of the people reinforcing Rattenberg’s reputation as a cultural and glass manufacturing centre in the region.
For more information the associated research and development document will shortly be available at http://issuu.com/michaeljclarke