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Gold outside, brass inside

Musikverein Zwettl, Lower Austria

Invited competition, 1st prize

Musikverein Zwettl

More room for music

The people of Zwettl, a small town in the northeast of Austria, are extremely proud of their successful marching band, which was founded almost 130 years ago. All those wonderful sounding trumpets, horns, trombones, saxophones, clarinets, tubas and flutes require space to be practiced and played, however, and that was getting scarce in the attic of the town council. Plus, the instruments didn’t sound all that well there, either. Therefore, the council wanted to renovate and extend the building and attic for its musicians.

A true gem with its spacious layout, outstanding acoustics and distinctive, light-flooded construction!

C. M. Ziehrer Musikverein (music society)
Musikverein Zwettl
Musikverein Zwettl
Musikverein Zwettl

A bold building takes centre stage

Together with us, the council boldly opted for a more confident gesture. We placed an eight-metre-high, hermetically closed reinforced-concrete cube on the square in front of the building. No perforations, no cantilevers. The only entrances are via a ramp and a hidden door. A gold cube for music. The ribbon windows of the lower floor, which is sunken into the ground, create the impression that this sound box is floating in the air.

The first few years of use have already shown that the building perfectly meets our requirements.

C. M. Ziehrer Musikverein

Though it stands in marked – and, initially, not entirely uncontroversial – contrast to the historic building fabric around it, it naturally assumes its place, lending an exciting new structure to the evolved ensemble surrounding it and enhancing the entrance to the town council.

Musikverein Zwettl

For us the golden aluminium panels wonderfully reflect the shining surfaces of the musicians’ instruments and costumes.

Musikverein Zwettl
Musikverein Zwettl

A clear, simple structure

Behind the rear-ventilated facade the interior structure is as simple as the one outside. The rehearsal room is upstairs; the social rooms are on the floor below and can be reached via a staircase. Simple and logical.

In order to perfectly fulfil acoustic requirements, the rehearsal room must have a certain height and a minimum area per musician, which eventually determined the size of the cube with a floor area of 156 m2. The plain white hall with skylights is five metres high and can also be used for concerts or weddings. We have been told, though, that the musicians are apparently not (yet) ready to share their new abode.

However, on their website they proudly announce that:

Zwettl’s architecture ranks among the best in Europe!

Musikverein Zwettl
Musikverein Zwettl
Musikverein Zwettl
Floor plans

Musikverein Zwettl

Musikverein Zwettl
Site plan


Type of commission

geladener Wettbewerb

Scope of commission

Gesamte Planung


best architects 2015


Zwettler Immobilien und Standortentwicklung GmbH


Zwettl, Niederösterreich







Net usable floor area

320 m²

Gross floor area

370 m²

Building costs

780.000 €


Joseph Suntinger, Christian Szalay


Structural engineer

Zehetgruber ZT GmbH

Building physics

Burian ZT GmbH

Building services

BPS Engineering

Site supervision

Stadtgemeinde Zwettl, Herr Meisner


Kurt Kuball