Grow your own

Friday 05 Feb 2010

Vienna's garden allotments provide land for green living

The Schafberg Garden House by architect DI Johann Lettner and visualized by Tangram 3DS is built on an allotment on the Schafberg, a hilly green area in Vienna’s west end. Vienna’s allotment gardens have long since provided city dwellers in the Austrian capital a welcome opportunity to commune with nature. Small garden lots (approx. 220 sq m) on the Schafberg have been particularly sought after since the 1990s when zoning changes made it possible to construct year-round housing on these lots under restrictive conditions.

To retain the green space and garden character of the area as much as possible, construction is limited to two storeys plus cellar on an area of 50 sq m per building lot. Furthermore, access to this auto-free zone is granted to small vehicles for a limited time only during construction.

Designed on split levels facing the southwest and positioned to create private outdoor areas, the Schafberg Garden House has been designed to fit into the hillside seamlessly. The selection of building materials was largely determined by the requirements of passive house technology as well as zoning restrictions: the extensive use of glass allows for an optimal use of solar energy, materials offer super insulation values and building elements had to be easy to transport and/or dismantle.

Large windows, terraces and rooftop terraces expand living areas to include their surroundings. The minimalist design of the interiors with its subdued colour palette and simple material selection lets the views command the scene, blurring the line between indoors and outdoors.

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