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Students seek to rescue a village in Tirol

Architecture students have collaborated with their lecturer, the architect Erich Strolz, to develop a concept for the future of the village of Pettneu in Tirol’s Stanzertal. For years now, the village has been suffering under the volume of traffic caused by winter sports enthusiasts, and is therefore seeking sustainable solutions.

Architecture students at the University of Liechtenstein have collaborated with their lecturer, the architect Erich Strolz, to develop a concept for the future of the village of Pettneu in Tirol’s Stanzertal. For years now, the village has been suffering under the volume of traffic caused by winter sports enthusiasts, and is therefore seeking sustainable solutions.


The little village of Pettneu am Arlberg has around 1,500 inhabitants. It makes its living from tourism, yet possesses only a relatively small ski area with 15 kilometres of pistes. By comparison, St. Anton, the winter sports resort located only six kilometres away, offers 270 kilometres of pistes. The number of overnight stays has been stagnant for years. The village’s young people are moving away.


Model for a traffic calmed zone in the village centre of Pettneu.

This is why representatives from the municipality have now turned to the University of Liechtenstein and initiated the project PETT.NEU. Here, architecture students were able to give free rein to their ideas and visions of how to redesign Pettneu.




Freeing up the village centre and redesigning the village square
Klaus Fink (42), a student in the third semester of the Bachelor’s degree programme in Architecture, has closely observed the flow of traffic in and around Pettneu. He has come to the following conclusion: the main village road has retained its original character and is in fact a gem for the village and for attracting visitors. However, the quality of life is severely impacted upon in winter, due to the volume of ski buses.


Klaus Fink (3.f.l.), Student in the Bachelor Architecture 3rd semester, presents his visions for the future for Pettneu.


Added to this are the numerous vehicles coming off the S16 expressway and ending up not on the existing bypass, but instead directly on the village square. Yet it is precisely the village centre which should be traffic-free, opines Fink: “I wish to make traffic pass underground, so that a beautiful big square can be created directly in front of the church. This would considerably increase the quality of life in the village centre.”




Bringing new life to the main village road
Vehicles should only use the main village road above ground further along its length, according to Fink’s plan. An ingenious parallel one-way system will prevent unnecessary traffic along the eastern part of the road. To bring new life to the old village road, he has taken up projects from his fellow students and incorporated them in his own project. The ideas range from an accommodation concept through to a concentration of various public institutions, and include a culture centre featuring a café.




In addition, Fink, who comes from Andelsbuch and is local to the Vorarlberg, is also planning a new train station along the route from Innsbruck to Feldkirch, to the east of the old, closed-down train station. The top storey of the train station will also be home to a cable car , which will take the tourists arriving at the train station directly to the family ski area.

Supporting craftsmanship and agriculture
Yet Fink’s plan is not based solely on tourism. He also wishes to give stronger support to regional craftsmanship and provide practitioners with premises along the revitalized main village road. Agriculture is also to be given greater prominence. One option envisioned by Fink is a collaboration between Pettneu farmers and farmers from St. Anton. According to him, a suitable farm could be set up to the south-east of the old village road and be run either privately or by the municipality.




The final presentation was attended by the municipality’s mayor, deputy mayor, chief administrator as well as various planning officers. Fink’s designs were met with great interest. The tenor was that the plans could surely be implemented in the medium to long term.