Linz Then and Now


Picture credit: rubra

The Deep Space LIVE “Best of Linz_Now/Then” at the Ars Electronica Center on THU February 6, 2014, 8 PM, will show how much the cityscape of Linz has changed in recent decades. Dr. Fritz Mayrhofer, the former director of the Archive of the City of Linz, presents a selection of the best shots from all previous published picture books of “Linz_Then/Now 1-3.” The underlying concept, to contrast historical and current views from the same perspective of Linz, represents the transformation of the city very clearly. Many older people of Linz will still remember disappeared objects well. Dr. Mayrhofer himself was surprised during his review of the historical pictures of how much Linz has changed in just a short time.

“The biggest surprise for me was that aerial photographs do show less detail but they document the expansion and consolidation of the urban area best.” (Dr. Fritz Mayrhofer, Archives of the City of Linz)

But not only aerial photographs will be shown – also views from the perspective of the population. For the “Best of” collection Dr. Mayrhofer focused mainly on the structural changes of the city. So he will show both views from the entire present-day city area and from the city center.

From the guesthouse to the Museum of the Future

Picture credit: Archives of the City of Linz

How exciting this juxtaposition can be shows a photo of two buildings at the place of the Ars Electronica Center and the Ars Electronica Futurelab today. Not only the different height of the two buildings has remained constant to this day, even today’s “Main Deck” , the square between the houses, was already there. Dr. Mayrhofer this in detail:

“After the construction of the first iron bridge over the Danube in Linz, from 1870 to 1872 , the eastern Urfahraner bridgehead was reconstructed. A year later, in 1873 , the residential and commercial building was erected in the Hauptstraße 2-4 as a semi-detached house by two different builders. The population then knew the house No. 4 under the name “Bruckmüller house”. The part of the building housed on Hauptstraße 2 was the place of the guesthouse “Zur alten Donaubrücke” (“To the old Danube bridge”) until 1951, followed by garden on the left Donaustraße, today’s Ars Electronica street.”

How transient cityscapes can be, shows the further course of these two houses: The guesthouse had to be demolished for road regulatory purposes in the year 1964, also the house nearby on the left Donaustraße 4 was removed in 1972 for this project. The building on Hauptstraße 4 had to give way the construction of the Ars Electronica Center in 1991. It was opened in 1996 in its former shape and again in 2009, when Linz was European Capital of Culture, with its illuminated media façade that can be seen today.

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