Architektur im Ringturm

Architecture |

Austrian Builder-Owner Award 2013

From 27 November 2013 until 10 January 2014

Presented by the Central Association of Austrian Architects since 1967, the Austrian Builder-Owner Award has grown in significance over the years, serving as the model and inspiration for a number of regional and international architecture prizes. The criteria for the award include exceptional architectural language and design – the result of close collaboration between the builder-owners and architects involved – as well as the project’s contribution to enhancing the respective surrounding. For the third time, Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein’s Architektur im Ringturm series will showcase all of the nominees, with the seven prize winners taking pride of place. The exhibition gives an overview of Austria’s contemporary architecture scene.

A total of 90 submissions were received for the 2013 Austrian Builder-Owner Award. Honorary juries in each of Austria’s federal provinces shortlisted up to five projects. Following inspections of the 30 nominated projects, the seven prize winners were selected by a jury including acclaimed international architects such as Dörte Mandrup, Arno Brandlhuber and Christian Kühn. This approach ensures that the award-winning developments live up to international standards.

The award-winning projects

BOA residential development
Builder-owner: Gerhard Schuster, CEO, BUWOG Bauen und Wohnen GmbH
Architects: Köb & Pollak Architektur and Alexander Schmoeger, Vienna
Urban pilot project: studio uek, Vienna
Landscape architecture: Joachim Kräftner/EGKK Landschaftsarchitektur, Vienna

BOA forms the final, north-eastern section of the ring-shaped OASE 22 residential complex, which is based on a design from studio uek that took first prize in the 2008 EUROPAN architecture competition. The neighbourhood brings together allotments, detached houses and industrial buildings. BOA stands out for its sophisticated system of access areas, as well as different types of apartments. The residential units range from one-room properties to shared facilities for assisted living. A unique feature of the development is its semi-public spaces, both in the courtyards and at rooftop level, where an uninterrupted walkway connects all of the elements that make up OASE 22. BOA also includes a greenhouse and raised plant beds which are widely used by the residents. In this regard the builder-owner adopted an exemplary approach, providing as well a budget for balancing users’ needs.

Residential and nursing home Liesing
Builder-owner: Vienna Hospital Association (Wiener Krankenanstaltenverbund, KAV), City of Vienna; Roland Paukner, Ingrid Thanner, MAS (Director of Care Homes) and Walter Teuschler (Managing Director, Residential and nursing home Liesing)
Architects: Riepl Kaufmann Bammer Architekten, Vienna
Prayer room design: Svenja Deininger, Vienna
Glazing design: Bele Marx and Gilles Mussard, Vienna
Landscape architecture: 3:0, Vienna
This groundbreaking facility offers space for over 300 residents – in contrast to the widely accepted principle on the size of care homes for the elderly. Divided into smaller units, each with two dayrooms and a care centre, the atmosphere at the home is dignified, without leaving a staid impression. Wood panelling in the corridors makes for a cosy feeling, and the electric tiled heating stoves in the dayrooms add a touch of luxury. Residents can also prepare their own food in the kitchenettes in the dayrooms. Access to the balconies is step-free, meaning that beds can also be moved outside if required. The sliding shutters can easily be opened and closed by the users. The builder-owner deserves credit for implementing such features throughout the facility, in spite of the high cost. The same is true for the burnished brass cladding on the facade, which gives the home its elegant appearance.

Krawagna studio
Builder-owners: Dorli and Peter Krawagna 
Architect: Reinhold Wetschko, Klagenfurt

The builder-owners, an artist couple, own a 19th century house overlooking the Wörthersee lake on the same plot of land as this new building, a large studio with north-facing windows that also includes ancillary rooms, sanitary facilities and a storeroom for artworks. It borders on the road running along the south side of the site. The aim was to avoid restricting access to the plot, while interacting with the old house. Originally, a view of the surrounding area was not part of the plans, so the builder-owners had to be convinced about the glazed corner on the entrance side of the building. This feature is decisive in creating a dialogue to the old house, and a key element of the entrance to the studio. Viewed from the road through a dense hedge, the studio appears to be completely enclosed, while the wooden cladding gives off a gentle metallic sheen. 

Salzkammergut agricultural college
Builder-owner: Landes-Immobilien GmbH, represented by Gerhard Burgstaller, Department of Building and Procurement Management, Office of the Provincial Government of Upper Austria
Architects: Fink Thurnher Architekten

Significant expansion of the existing school building was essential following the merger of two agricultural colleges. The new composition takes its cue from the farms – known as Vierkanthöfe – found in the local area. This wooden construction is composed of study, work and accommodation areas arranged around an enclosed central courtyard. Untreated Austrian silver fir was used for the facades, floors, walls, ceilings and furnishings. Environmental sustainability was maximised by the use of eco-friendly construction materials such as sheep’s wool, the reduction of surface treatment to an absolute minimum, and optimised energy consumption in line with passive house standards. Students and teachers alike speak highly of the amount of space inside the renovated school. In addition to classrooms, almost every class has access to an additional room for project work and group activities; these spaces feature skylights as well as glazing along the sides adjacent to the corridors. A compartmentalised open-plan office provides workspaces for all members of the teaching staff. Such a high quality project was only feasible thanks to a public-sector investor that did not make cost savings its top priority, users who were able to clearly spell out their requirements, and a builder-owner that insisted on holding an architectural competition.

Holzbau Meiberger
Builder-owner: Walter Meiberger, Meiberger Holzbau GmbH & Co KG
Architects: LP architektur ZT GmbH, Altenmarkt im Pongau

A group of old production halls and a ground floor grocery comprised the unspectacular premises that were transformed into a new headquarters for wood construction firm Meiberger. The new facade covers the building in a light veil of wooden slats, producing an eye-catching combination of rhythm and structure. The only gap in the facade is a concrete construction at the entrance to the grocery on the ground floor. The company’s offices are situated on the first floor. A number of small apartments, originally intended for employees and now let on the open market, are located on the second floor. One outstanding feature is the visual link between the administrative and production sides of the business: floor-to-ceiling glass panels in the meeting rooms offer a direct view on to the manufacturing hall.

Gusswerk extension
Builder-owner: Marco Sillaber, Gusswerk Eventfabrik GmbH
Architects: ARGE Erweiterung Gusswerk (hobby a., LP architektur, CS-architektur, Strobl Architekten)

This former industrial zone on the outskirts of Salzburg had already been successfully converted and marketed by the builder-owner, and there was space for an extension on the north-eastern corner of the site. The builder-owner was aware that the future tenants – all from the textiles industry – were looking for dedicated offices for their brand centre. The structure comprises eight square towers, each with separate entrances and access on two levels from the inner courtyards. As the complex is situated on a slope, the entrances are positioned at various levels, while a connecting basement floor simplifies logistics. The reinforced-concrete towers are clad with corrugated plastic sheets, providing perfectly lit showrooms for the various clothing brands. The planning process was unusual: the owner invited the four architects that worked on the renovation of the existing industrial premises to take part in a competition. The winning design was then further developed and jointly realised by all four participants.

Altach Islamic Cemetery
Builder-owner: Mayor Gottfried Brändle, Gemeinde Altach Immobilienverwaltung GmbH & Co KG
Architect: Bernardo Bader, Dornbirn
Artwork: Azra Aksamija, Boston, USA

Islamic cemeteries follow different conventions to Christian burial sites. The time in which rituals are performed after death is different, and the graves must face towards Mecca. Given the growing number of Muslims in Vorarlberg, the province’s municipalities began working with religious representatives on the design of suitable burial places. The upshot of these discussions was the decision to build a central Islamic cemetery in Altach. One potential criticism of the idea was that it could prompt the isolation of Muslim citizens, but this argument fails to take into account the fact that in Islam, death cuts all of an individual’s worldly ties – to family as much as to community. The dead are seen first and foremost as part of the Ummah, the commonwealth of believers. The architectural design of the cemetery creates a sense of openness and of a new beginning, rather than an end. The builder-owners facilitated the creation of a dignified space, helping to give the Islamic community a home in Vorarlberg.

The exhibition
The latest exhibition in the Architektur im Ringturm series profiles the projects submitted for the 2013 Austrian Builder-Owner Award. Using plans, photos and models, it paints a picture of the contemporary Austrian architecture that has emerged from the collaboration between builder-owners and architects. The exhibition turns the spotlight on the seven award-winning submissions, as well as presenting the projects shortlisted by the honorary juries in the various federal provinces.

Architektur im Ringturm XXXIV. Bauherrenpreis 2013. Published by the Central Association of Austrian Architects; approx. 85 pages, Price: EUR 18

Adolph Stiller

Exhibition Centre in the Ringturm
1010 Vienna, Schottenring 30

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday: 9 am to 6 pm, free admission
(closed on public holidays and on 24. and 31. December 2013)

Press tour:
Tuesday, 26 November 2013, 11.00 am

Adolph Stiller, Christian Kühn

Official opening:
Tuesday, 26 November 2013, 6.30 pm (by invitation only)

Enquiries to:

Silvia Polan
T: +43 (0)50 390-21064
F: +43 (0)50 390 99-21064
E-Mail an Public Relations