​They had to be hidden somewhere amidst examination rooms​ ​and diagnostic units, behind parking garage driveways and drywalls,above suspended ceilings and beneath tons of reinforced​ ​concrete and debris: those clear-cut and generous rooms that were still recognizable in the original plans of the building​ ​erected in 1904 by the Brüder Schwadron’s construction company…

The basic concept for the refurbishment of the space was thus​ obvious: first of all, to largely free it from all the built-in elements and structural alterations and additions that had​ accumulated over approximately one hundred years, and then essentially reduce the structure to the necessary minimum. This​ included the exposure of a potential continuous sight axis of 35 meters that would allow for an unobstructed line of vision from​ ​Wiesingerstraße across a glass-roofed inner courtyard to Franz Josefs Kai, the embankment of the Danube Canal.​ ​All of the newly built-in elements are functional additions that, thanks to their reduced vocabulary of form, are clearly set apart​ from the original substance without pushing to the fore. The stairway, made of 12-millimeter-thick black steel sheet, freely​ cantilevers from the first floor. It grants access to the hitherto unused cellar, thereby adding to the exhibition rooms an​ extensive basement area that is partly naturally lit and ventilated via the façade. A bridge, likewise made of black metal sheet,​ marks the threshold between the exhibition zone and the office and secondary rooms. It can easily and quickly be dismantled​ entirely for the arrival of bulky exhibits.

The extremely tight budget also called for maximum reduction​ regarding all the other measures taken: concrete floors, bare​ fluorescent lamps for illumination; extant ceiling surfaces were​ kept, and lacquer coating had to suce for the new washrooms.​ The façades have been generously closed with glazed panels; along the front facing the embankment, the glazed surface​ extends on top of a layer of extant tiles, parts of which are destroyed. The black enameled glass panels mounted in front of​ pillared fields of dierent width replicate the vertical stripes of the historical façade structure. Through their having been​ interpreted as a bar code, the front viewing the embankment has been given a new, self-confident identity.​

Franz Josefs Kai 3
Client: Christian and Franziska Hausmaninger
Architecture: propeller z
Engineering: werkraum wien
Floor Area: 630m2
Construction: January - April 2010

propeller z