Marktplatz  (c) Lukas Haemmerle - Dornbirn Tourismus und Stadtmarketing GmbH

Biography from a city

The biography of a city can be read in many places. Among other things on their buildings, on the design of squares and in their pathways.

Market place

In the past, restaurats lined this large square. Meetings were held here and the mayors were elected by means of admissions. Many Dornbirner still remember the car traffic that once prevailed. The square was declared a pedestrian zone in 1989 and was previously the busiest road junction in Vorarlberg.

St. Martin church

The parish church of St. Martin was first mentioned in 1278. Several new buildings were constructed. The freestanding tower was built almost 200 years later and in 1767 it was extended to about 60 meters elevated. The square is dominated by the classicist shape of the church. This design is taken from plans by Martin von Kink, which were realized in 1839/40. Next to the church, the steeple and the vicarage stand as characteristic buildings. The vicarage was built in 1901 in a historicist style. Architect Hanns Kornberger designed a gable with Ionic round columns and thus created a stylistic unity with the parish church. In 2008/09 the conversion to a parish centre was carried out by the architects Michael Heim and Wolfgang Ritsch.

Red house

In 1639, the Red House was built on the site of the parish courtyard that burned down in 1570. There is still an insight into the timber construction of that time. Remarkable are the four-part window groups, the retractable shutters and the decorated underside of the roof beams. The red colour was given to it by a protective coating, the shade of which was called “Ochsenblut”. For Dornbirn, the Red House has a city-political importance. In 1655 the sale of Dornbirn to the Counts of Hohenems by the citizens of Dornbirn was prevented by the external staircase.

Rotes Haus  (c) Lukas Haemmerle - Dornbirn Tourismus und Stadtmarketing GmbH
Marktplatz (c) Matthias Rhomberg - Dornbirn Tourismus & Stadtmarketing GmbH

City archive & city museum

In 1796, Josef Anton Lanter, a manufacturer and municipal collector, had the representative civic house built. It later became the headquarters of the industrial family Rhomberg. In 1958 it was acquired by the city of Dornbirn and now the city archive and city museum is in it.


Originally the stadium of the Feurstein-Haus, it found its second use as a restaurant called "Gasthaus Sonne". Attentionful observers see the sun on the gable field. In 1901/02 it was transformed into an old German style. The curved gable, the small bay and the corner tower with half-timbered structure are striking. Also noteworthy are the plaster decorations in Art Nouveau style, the back wooden porch and the interior remodeling in postmodern style after a fire in 1987. Today, you get legal advice in a law firm, reading material in a children’s bookstore and a fine lunch at Café Steinhauser.

Furniture store, today Gallery

In the 1960s, Dornbirn experienced a construction boom. Only a few buildings were able to claim to embody architectural qualities. Designed by architect Ernst Hiesmayr and completed in 1972, this building was controversial among the population over its modern formal language. Originally, the residential and commercial building was built by builder Christoph Zünd. Accessible from the outside only by a few openings, the room inside is screwed into the vertical with open half-days.

Rhomberg Haus  (c) Benno Hagleitner - Dornbirn Tourismus & Stadtmarketing GmbH
Bauernhaus (c) Benno Hagleitner - Dornbirn Tourismus & Stadtmarketing GmbH
Musikschule (c) Benno Hagleitner - Dornbirn Tourismus & Stadtmarketing GmbH


The Adolf-Rhomberg-Haus can be found at Marktstraße 26, surrounded by mighty trees. In the entrance hall the vaulted ceiling and old parquet flooring stand out immediately. From the outside the entrance porch is flanked on each side by two columns, the underside of the roof has floral designs. In general the external façade is ornately decorated, the roof gable on the third floor is a feast for the eyes. The house was originally built in 1798 to 1799 under the instruction of textiles manufacturer Marx Alois Luger. The plans were drawn up by Sigmund Hilbe, who also designed the church in Haselstauden. In 1834 the house was purchased by Eduard Rhomberg, whose son Adolf was Governor of Vorarlberg from 1890 to 1918. In 1900 the architect Hanns Kornberger redesigned the façade and added the current Jugendstil details. The Guild of the Vorarlberger Building Industry purchased the building and renovated it in the years 1987 to 1990. The Kunst-raum Dornbirn uses it for exhibitions and courses.

Franciscan monastery

Beside a towering birch tree, the no less impressive narrow side of of the church of the Capuchin monastery rises majestically into the sky. Located at Marktstraße 49, the church has been fitted with wooden benches and modern windows. These are brushstroke blue with yellow and red stripes. Unpretentiously kept in white, the sacred space has a tranquil feel, and beside it is the equally sober looking monastery building. The monastery was built using funds provided by Adolf Rhomberg after the wife of the textiles manufacturer and Governor had recovered from a serious illness. The monastery was erected opposite his residence in 1893/94 and the monastery church is dedicated to Saint Joseph. Following the custom of the time, the altarpiece depicts important people of the period, including the married couple that provided funding for the monastery, and Dornbirn as the pictorial background. In 2004 the monastery was given to the Franciscan Province of Posen in Poland.

Municipal music school

The building at Rosenstraße 6, which today houses the city’s music school, was originally constructed in 1900/01 as a finishing school for young ladies. The building is constructed of yellow and red brick. One remarkable feature is the original Jugendstil glazing to the stairwell. The window extends from the very bottom to the very top and frames the landscape outside: the sun throws its light from the right hand side over this picturesque image, with space aplenty for trees, fields, water and sky, with a frieze of flowers providing the crowning glory. The music school was founded in 1902 by the “Society of Music Friends”. After several changes of location, the music school has now been housed here in this building since 1927, where the elegant sounds of oboe, piano and singing voices can be heard throughout the day.


The shape of the Evangelical Church in Rosenstrasse follows a design by architect Otto Bartning. The church was built in 1930-31. The plans for this were given to the parish of Bohemia, where they had already been realized. The building has an octagonal shape, from which two staircases and choir/sacristy grow in perfect symmetry. The building is completed by a tent roof with lantern


The Schlossguggerhaus, the oldest house in Dornbirn is located at Sebastianstraße 24 and dates back to 1290. The ground-floor entrance is sealed by an old, robust door, the arched doorway more suited to a smaller person. The wooden external staircase does not look like it would bear the weight of a modern European. The neighbouring stables would have been built at a later date, as was often the case; the sign “Keep entrance clear” is an indication that there is still some life behind the stable door – and that it can still support life. On the Bergstraße side, on which today many cars and earlier the horse-drawn carriages would pass, many inviting windows look out. Behind the house there is an ancient apple tree in a green meadow, which will blossom and bear fruit for many years to come. The core of the building is built in late-Romanesque plank-work construction and therefore is a special example of anonymous rural construction in West Austria. Also notable is the increasing stone construction around the woodwork, which documents the historic development from wooden to stone-wood mix construction.