Tunnel Monitoring Complex in Hausmannstaetten, Austria, by Dietger Wissounig Architekten, 2012

The following text and images are courtesy of Dietger Wissounig Architekten.

The large complex of buildings nestled on level ground along the new Hausmannstaetten bypass road covers three functions: tunnel control center, central repair shop and road maintenance depot. In order to keep the intrusion to a minimum, the building was interpreted as part of the landscape. It follows the course of the road and the green roofs, which regulate the climate and blend in with the fields farmed in strips. A planted embankment forms the boundary to the bypass. Additionally, the way the elongated position of buildings is chosen, they contribute to noise protection in favor of the neighboring small houses. On the one hand, the complex consequently uses the existing topographical conditions to minimize noise, energy and routes. On the other hand, its clear, simple design vocabulary stabilizes the atmosphere of the heterogeneous environment.

The building complex at the west portal of the Himmelreich tunnel at Hausmannstätten enters into a consistent dialogue with the surrounding landscape. By dint of its size and development along the tunnel entrance, the structure impacts on the landscape, of which it forms an integral part.

The green roofs follow the course of the street. The earth banks already on the building site and neighboring plot, heaped up for tunnel construction, are only partially rearranged and form the new topography in combination with the roofs. The top edges of the roofs and earth banks are at the same height. Seen from the country road, the impression is one of having parts of the landscape in front of you. The eye ranges over the green roof surfaces to the Graz Basin with its plot pattern of short strip fields.

The architecture is characterized by a calm, pragmatic style. The aim was to stabilize the surrounding area, that is dominated by suburban detached houses and commercial developments. The reserved architectural language serves as a background for the heterogeneous neighborhood. In addition to the areas of extensive roof and embankment greenery, the materials used are above all long-lived.

To cater to the heavy burden of the weather and works transport (frost and thaw salt), extremely robust natural materials are used such as reinforced concrete (also for crash guards), wood in the interior protected from the weather, steel and industrial glass. These materials define the appearance of the façades. In some areas high-quality, resistant materials are used; for example stainless steel in the washing bay – simply for reasons of severe exposure to corrosion due to steam.

Photographs are by Jasmin Schuller.