PMA  Urban Hybrid | City Libary

Pema 2 Urban Hybrid | City Library

Pema 2 combines a city library, a public space with restaurants and residential accommodation within a multi-faceted building complex. It is a spatial organisation of urban relationships that manages both public and private interests.


In Innsbruck, as in many European cities that enthusiastically embraced high-rise buildings in the sixties and seventies, the debate about the efficient use of building land has died down. The consequences of such interventions in the urban context simply seemed too serious and the qualities and opportunities offered by the high-rise typology were inadequately tested. Yet such an investigation of the notion of verticality seems particularly necessary in Innsbruck, a city whose land resources are limited as a result of its location in an Alpine valley. The resulting question is whether, and how, this high-rise typology could help the city to achieve its spatial and functional development objectives. The Innsbruck Tower Study, published by the “aut: architektur und tirol” architecture centre, asked these questions and outlined a high-rise typology in the form of an Urbanissima. The design of Pema 2 responds to this idea by combining a range of functions within a consciously architectural and yet spatially restricted building. This consists of three different volumes: a base containing the spaces of the new City Library, a residential tower and a public space on a level with the roofs of the city that offers additional space for restaurants.


Innsbruck’s new City Library

The construction of the new City Library within the base of Pema 2 lends extra significance to an important public institution while creating a connection with the neighbouring districts of the city in the form of an attractive urban joint. The concept for Innsbruck’s new City Library sees this as a public space as well as a place of learning and coming together. Despite or, perhaps, thanks to rapid digitalisation there is a growing trend towards meeting away from our homes. This trend underlies the spatial concept in which 50% of the space is devoted to media while the other 50% can be used socially. The City Library offers all the users of the city access to information, education and culture. With a broad range of uses including learning and reading areas, a children’s library, a reading café, an events space, a city gallery and spaces for a model of the city the library is enhancing its basic role, becoming a place which is both highly integrative and highly social.


Public space – urban added value

The high-rise study by aut articulates the requirement that each high-rise building should deliver some desired social and urban added value to its surroundings. In the case of Pema 2 this is a public space that is being created at the level of the roofs of the city. Laid out in line with the City Library located below it this space contains a restaurant terrace, the open bookshelf of the City Library and urban furniture that invites visitors to rest awhile, free from the pressure to consume. This so-called reading deck is reached via generous open stairs from the streets to the north and the south. The route across the square which is located at a height of eleven metres above Amraserstraße can be seen as a higher-level connection with the future goods station site, one of Innsbruck’s last urban expansion areas.

Very close to the station and marking the point at which three districts of the city come together, the hybrid building is seen as a place of identification for existing districts and a statement of intent for future ones. In urban design terms the façade of the library resolutely adopts the orientation of Amraserstraße in the Pradl district, reinforcing this in its role as a main axis of circulation. Both the positioning and the north-south orientation of the tower with its principally residential use guarantee the views towards the Mittelgebirge and Nordkette that are characteristic for the city.



Press kit: Urban Hybrid | City Library



Public buildings and housing
Project Start-End: 
2012/12 - 2018/09
Building Start-End: 
PEMA Gruppe
Competition (invitation)
1st prize
Service phases: 
HOA PL§3 1-4 (5), HOAI 1-5 (6)

competitionteam: Kathrin Aste, Frank Ludin, Peter Griebel, Marc Ihle, Daniel Luckeneder
designteam: Kathrin Aste, Frank Ludin, Daniel Luckeneder, Simone Brandstätter, Simon Benedikt, Benjamin Jenewein, Ivan Niedermair, Marc Ihle, Peter Griebel, Allison Weiler, Phillip Zimmermann