House in Zellerndorf, Austria by franz, 2009
Last week I featured a project on my blog, an addition that minimized its impact on the existing building by adding three small structures behind it instead of one. An E-shaped plan can also be found in this residence by Austrian architects franz. A coincidence? An appealing approach to defining different functions? A theme in contemporary architecture? Whatever the case may be, each response relates to specific circumstances, making them unique while sharing certain traits.
The client and the architect for this house (two brothers) grew up in a Streckhof, an elongated farmhouse in the area. These structures, though typically with pitched roofs, are recalled in the three pavilions that comprise this contemporary, flat-top house. From the road the three pieces are, logically: parking, living, sleeping. Therefore a movement from semi-public to intimate happens along the glass spine that stretches approximately 35 meters (115 feet).
We grew up in the sheltered space of the Streckhof. It was important to create intimate outdoor areas. Every room was to have light from the south and a relationship to the garden. -Robert Diem, franzWhen seen from the road the house's black polycarbonate facade is easily the most striking aspect of the design, what sets it apart from the traditional neighbors. A canopy and shallow stoop hint at the glass link that extends from the front door to the rear pavilion. Each 6.6 x 16.6m (21-1/2 x 54-1/2-foot) box is offset from each other, relating to the functions contained within each black container. For example, the two-car garage takes up roughly 2/3 of the space of the first box to the right of the entry, yet the open living area takes up about 3/4 of the next box to the left of the corridor.
Between the living and sleeping pavilions are a terrace and pool, what can be seen as the main outdoor space, a "room" equivalent in size to one of the containers. When seen as a whole the house is comprised of five elements: this pool area, the three pavilions, and the glass walkway. This last piece animates movement between the pavilions, adding splashes of light to the promenade and alternating the experience of open/closed, inside/outside. It's a simple parti, but one that responds to the client's needs and background.