Hariri & Hariri Architects
Salzburg, Austria doesn’t immediately leap to mind when one thinks of modernity and artistic innovation. Its “old town” baroque architecture sits within a beautiful Alpine setting and is admired for its dedicated, historical preservation. More times than not, the breadth of knowledge about Salzburg is that it’s the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
There exist no Madison Avenue-like ad campaigns to draw international visitors to its home town surrounding. Enter Gisue Hariri and Mojgan Hariri of Hariri & Hariri Architects. This pair of Iranian born sisters may very well have single-handedly designed Salzburg into the 21 century. Based out of New York City, the Cornell educated team stands on the cutting edge of architectural design and digital technology. Their latest, and largest project to date, is The Sternbrauerei in Salzburg, Austria.
The Sternbrauerei, which means Star Brewery, promises to be the most innovative, contemporary yet practical artistic project in centuries. It is a luxury residential, mixed- use complex that is expected to be the first of many projects that necessarily will follow its lead. Historians of Salzburg wisely moved very slowly when deciding on Hariri & Hariri as architects to build on the last vacant space in the centre of Salzburg.
The anxiety in allowing a new structure in close proximity with such mature buildings was expressed in a statement by Ernst Scholdan, Chairman of the Board of Asset One AG. Scholdan stated “If we are going to build something new in such surroundings, we have to match this level.” He continues to define the criteria for the new apartment building at Rainberg. "We will only be able to arouse the enthusiasm of the people in Salzburg for modern architecture if we offer the same quality of modern architecture as can be admired in the best examples of historical architecture in Salzburg." The structure requires artistic as well as technical precision. The density of the building site is a natural progression of the centuries old tightly knit structures.
A kind of reverent stewardship was in play while committees formed the criteria for the architectural competition. The Salzburg City Planning Council, the Old City Commission, and the Salzburg Design Advisory Board, with the support of Kleboth & Lindinger Architects, played active roles in the assembly of architectural requirements. The preparations entailed painstaking details, including visits to the offices of all the invited, international architects - from New York and Tokyo, from Oslo to Lisbon. The end result, the Hariri & Hariri design stood tall above all other concepts. The jury unanimously praised the design’s “clear urbanistic tenor” and its integration of new and old structures.
In the words of Gisue Hariri, “This is conceptually, the culmination of nearly twenty years work for us. It is our largest and most multifaceted project to date, giving us the opportunity to not only build a unique complex, but to truly create a landmark within Salzburg’s essentially 18th Century cityscape.
Even the casual observer can sense the natural partnership of a Hariri & Hariri design to the ice-berg like rock angles of Rainberg Mountain in Salzburg. They have created breathtaking designs that equally distribute themselves across residential, commercial and institutional projects. Some of the most notable are the minimalist Sagponac house in Southhampton, New York inspired by Giacommetis “Figure in a box”, Barry’s Bay Cottage, a warm ski-lodge like home in
Ontario, Canada, and the finalist status of their St. Marks Coptic Village design which combines Coptic church history with Cathedral sensibilities.
There is a Jetson-like quality to their work. The use of digital technology to enhance natural tendencies of nature effectively integrates the technical age into the building age. They have envisioned a revolutionary material called “The Digital-Block” to be used in construction of transparent walls with the capability to transmit and receive information.
The awards granted upon the team are too numerous to name but among them are:
Design Hall of Fame, Interior Design Magazine, Architecture Award 2005, The American Academy of Arts and Letters, Academy Awards in Architecture 2005, Hospitality Design Award, 2005 (Juan Valdez Flagship Café NYC) The AD 100 – and The World’s Top Designers and Architects, Award 2004.
The well-attended Salzburg festival will be one to remember as residents and visitors alike experience a harmonious composition of a different sort—a cutting-edge architectural addition from Hariri & Hariri. Two sisters from Iran by way of New York who will no doubt lift a contemporary structure to be enjoyed for centuries to come