top of page

Carinthia Designers for New Train

DIE BRÜCKE / Autorenschaft beim Verlag

Horst and Christine Lechner won the design competition for two new ÖBB coaches

Horst Lechner was born in 1959 in Villach, where he studied carpentry and interior design at the HTL. From 1977 to 1983, he was a student at the University of Art and Design Linz, where he studied interior design with Prof. Laurids Ortner and interior architecture with Prof. Friedrich Goffitzer. He also participated in the Salzburg Summer Academy of Fine Arts where he worked with the architects Gustav Peichl and Wilhelm Holzbauer. After completing his apprenticeship at the Research Institutes for Disabled Environmental Design in Linz, he founded his own company in 1986 in Salzburg. He has been professionally working together with his wife and study mate, Mag. Christine Lechner, since 1988. Carinthia reminds him of his past as a champion rower in the Villach Rowing Club from 1972 until 1977. Christine Lechner (nee Stadler) is from St. Johann im Pongau. After completing her A-levels, she studied with Prof. Friedrich Goffitzer in Linz, where she subsequently met Horst Lechner. Like Horst, Christine also attended the Salzburg Summer Academy of Fine Arts and also worked at the Research Institutes for Disabled Environmental Design in Linz. She received her diploma from the University of Art and Design Linz in 1984 with honors. She then went on to work at various architecture firms and participated in a number of competitions and exhibitions. She has been working together with Horst Lechner since 1988

The Austrian Federal Railways have coaches in service that date back to the era of the Danube monarchy. Despite all the nostalgia, these coaches no longer meet the modern requirements of modern wagon construction; especially considering that future railway trains are estimated at reaching top speeds of 200 kilometers per hour. This need resulted in an architecture and design competition for the ÖBB from May to September 1988. On 7th November, the designs were awarded and presented in the Technisches Museum in Vienna. To Carinthia’s joy, first prize was awarded to designer Mag. Horst Lechner and Mag. Christine.

The ÖBB actually wants to build two types of coaches, one for state guests and the Federal Government and one for commercial use, such as being rented out to companies or used for corporate and private events. The idea is to have coaches that can be used over the next 40 years. Drafts for the prefabrication and assembly of the coach parts, the possibility of mass production, as well as detailed variants, low weight, high sound insulation and highest fire stability were required. Additionally, the coach should be easy to clean and the extension parts should be made of special market plastics.

The Federal Railways wanted two things through the competition: they wanted to give architects and designers the opportunity of a profile in the field of passenger coaches, and also gain an up-to-date overview of the innovative and creative potential in the field of vehicle design in Austria. Three prizes in the amounts of 150,000, 100,000 and 70,000 schillings were awarded, in addition to a draft purchase of 20,000 schillings.The international jury consisted of Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Laurids Ortner from the University of Art and Design Linz, ÖBB Director General Dr. Med. Heinrich Übles, chief designer of the Danish State Railways, Jens Nielsen, chief architect of the Swiss Federal Railways, Uli Huber, and the chief designer of the Norwegian State Railways, Jacob Heiberg. First prize was awarded to Mag. Horst and Mag. Christine Lechner..

The jury stated that the award-winning design was characterized by a generous and clearly readable spatial concept. With the proposed wave-shaped wall structure, the design succeeds in creating a desirable, functional and attractive structure. The entire appearance combines modern and representative aspects without being intrusive or overbearing. The project presents a design in a fresh, unconventional form. The material and color concept, as well as the lighting and furniture still require further revision. For the time being, two coaches will be built, which is particularly pleasing for the designer couple. Their design not only won the competition, but also garnered the praise of both the ÖBB and Dr. Übels. Changing individual windows to a continuous band of windows, which is made of tinted, shot-resistant Plexiglas, creates the slick exterior appearance of the coach. The band, which is integrated into the outer skin of the wagon works just like entry doors and skylights. The shape has been designed to maintain the design but be functional even at high speeds. Raised doors with windows and skylights made of tinted privacy Plexiglas generously and vertically emphasize the entry areas. One coach will cost a total of around 20 million schillings. It is estimated that both coaches will be in use by the beginning of 1990.

A Personal Ship for the Ossiacher Lake

While indulging on the shores of Lake Wörter from the front of the Thalia Nostalgia, Horst Lechner designed the passenger ship for Lake Ossiach in 1986 for Josef Nageler’s company. The ship, with a total length of 28.90 meters and a total width of 6.11 meters, is said to accommodate 220 people, of which one or two can be found next to the skipper. The ship, with a bar and buffet, is to be driven by a rudder propeller in the central nave and have an electro-hydraulic force control. The design of the ship is intended as an incentive to sail beyond the line transport and sail in the evening while hosting various events such as company gatherings, parties, and club meetings. Excursions with a casino, dance evenings, and other special trips accommodations are available. In regards of a normal liner, a cost effective operation with only a skipper and aa companion needs to be possible. Mag. Lechner wrote the following thoughts about his ship design: “The ship comes and goes the entire summer. It speaks, it connects the landing docks with the main town along the lake. It connects to the church. From above, on the surrounding mountain slopes, I see this ship coming back, year after year. I also see the way the ship moves the waves - it is part of the design. A sequence of forms arises. I tried to translate this into a readable geometry


further publications

to the project

bottom of page