A 19th century inn with a beautiful garden has been transformed into a family home with the intention of retaining the spirit of the place.
The house is situated in a small village in the hillsides near Vienna, Austria. From 1900 an inn with a beautiful garden was located on this
site. Popular to the village people and to numerous weekend guests and belonging to the family of the current owners, this place used to be
the centre of the village. In the 1980's the inn repeatedly changed hands and the place started deteriorating until finally it was up on the
market again and the family bought back the site.
It was the wish of the client to build a new family home, yet to retain the oldest part of the inn, which is mainly the big kitchen with a huge
tiled wooden cooking stove, as an atelier. It will be open for the village people once or twice a year - as a homage to the place it used to be.
The new building was carefully planted between the old existing trees and is set to the old building in such a way to allow for best views and
optimum use of the garden. It was our intention to design a modern building that reflects the uniqueness of the site and its history, a place
that feels comfortable with its surrounding, a place that ages gracefully with its inhabitants.
The irregular cut of the site creates the potential to provide different garden themes: the orchard behind the old building, the lawn and
swimming pond with their spectacular views in front of the living space and the wooded area sheltering the private terrace. Parts of the
existing inn, like the kitchen, the wine cellar and the stone wall, which is used as a garden element, have been restored, other parts
recycled and re-used. The existing basement served as the excavation pit for the swimming pond.
The new house consists of a 'public' and a 'private' tract, which are arranged in two separate buildings. The entrance is situated at the
gateway between the buildings. Privacy and vistas are the fundamental design factors. The main design element is the roof, which emerges
out of the terrain like rolling hills. The roof comes down to the ground on the sloped side and creates a private and protected terrace in front
of the bedrooms. The organization of the interior works for both building volumes: one big space offering a tall ceiling height and a
generous glass opening on one side backed up by a series of low ancillary rooms with a gallery on top.
Foundations, floors and columns are concrete, the rendered walls are constructed with cavity block. In order to get the desired shape of the
roof, versatile studies of construction methods, materials and cost implications were necessary. It soon became obvious, that the roof had
to be a timber construction. Further research showed, that on-site production of the curved elements was not feasible. Eventually the roof
has been manufactured in a production hall off site. The prefabricated and pre-insulated sandwich elements arrived on site and were
assembled within two days only. Due to the minimal construction tolerance, no touch-ups were necessary on their untreated surface inside,
which corresponds with the fair faced concrete of the columns and the natural flooring materials (oak and slate).
White walls, glass and a copper clad roof define the low building. The reduction of materials and the unusual cut result in an abstract yet
well into the landscape assimilated building.
Cold winters and hot summers predominate the area. A low energy standard was reached by using triple glazing elements, 20cm of
insulation around the building and the orientation to the sun. The existing trees as well as an automatic marquee along the west façade with
a 3m cantilever, extending the slope of the roof, prevent the building from solar gain in the summer. The concrete and the clay brickwork
provide a substantial thermal mass to counterbalance the temperature changes.