Montreuil, FR | Wien, AT
Text by Ramona Ring / Architektur Aktuell / November 2009
Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes rigorously cleared the entire competition site of motor vehicles. The metal desert that even for the Voest − which is generally most interested in the use of its own products – no longer seemed to have any advertising appeal is now one level lower and has become a “parkgarage” (the German term for car-parking garage) in the double sense of this term. Built of reinforced concrete of remarkable quality, flanked on the open edges by planted embankments, naturally cross-ventilated, lit from planted atriums and broken up into almost domestic proportions by glass walls, some transparent, some satin finish, this garage with its light- coloured polished floor continues the business of representation begun above ground level in a highly skilled way. Whoever does not exploit the privilege of driving under the new steel and glass canopy (also designed by Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes) that projects far in front of the BG41 building and instead, when the weather is inclement, wishes to stay dry by walking through the garage, will not be disappointed by the underground setting.
However the main entrance to the sales and finance office lies, impossible to overlook below a daring cantilever that exploits steel’s structural possibilities at the north-eastern end of the building. Here you entire a glazed, seemingly unbounded, foyer that focuses the attention of visitors from the steel reception desk on the one side to the impressive landscape of cranes, waste heaps, and chimneys on the other. From here a panorama lift takes you to the meeting rooms, accessible to a wider public, that are located in this part of the building. In terms of number, size and fittings these rooms respond to the needs of the location Linz as a whole and are augmented by a terrace on the top floor, surrounded by glass walls and open to the sky, which offers exceptional views. All the rooms on the ground floor, which is clearly shaped as a plinth and has a delicately profiled glass façade, are also reserved for “public” functions such as the company’s own travel agency, an archive, advertising media department and similar.
Golden façade, green atria
The offices proper are on the four upper floors that are encased in a shimmering golden façade. They are laid out in a strictly linear, double-loaded fashion, but the curve of the building visually reduces the apparent length. The offices lie along a wide centre zone in which four glass roofed atria are incised. Beside each atrium
there is a circulation and services core of exposed concrete, between them are the “living rooms” of the departments. The offices are separated from these communication areas by glass walls, satin-finished in places, which for the staff required some getting used to, as did the restrained colour scheme of the interior: gentle shades of grey are complemented by the light brown of the wooden floors and by strong signal-like colours in the area of the tea kitchens. The relatively narrow subdivision of the façade into full-height opening steel panels and fixed glass elements, also full-height, allows different size offices to be made in accordance with the different requirements. Sliding shade elements of frameless expanded metal on the outside face of the facade and the textile glare protection on the inside ensure agreeable lighting conditions. Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes display the steel construction – columns and open web beams, as well as the concrete of the ceiling slabs. The building services which run only above the corridors can be made out behind their expanded metal cladding. The discipline that this demanded in both design and execution adds a further level of quiet elegance to the overall impression, something that, unfortunately, one can often look for in vain in many a palatial office block.
Project completed : 2009
Surface : 36.700 m²
Building cost :
Location: Linz, AT
My Role: Head Designer