Archinect
Josef Weichenberger architects + Partner

Josef Weichenberger architects + Partner

Vienna, AT

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photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
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PHI - Refurbishment Philips Haus

Philips Haus – an icon of 1960s modernism – forms a welcoming gesture on the southern entrance to the city of Vienna. Although dwarfed by nearby Wienerberg City, it continues to make an impact more than fifty years after its completion. Its shape and anatomy remain distinctively unique, leaving behind an architectural afterglow in the eyes of the thousands of motorists that drive by every day. Philips Haus still
conveys the visionary spirit of its designer, renowned Viennese architect Karl Schwanzer.

Originally conceived as the Austrian headquarters of Philips, it was opened in April 1965, after 4 years of construction starting in late 1961. Philips Haus showcases a particularly unique construction. It rests on 4 slender reinforced concrete pylons, prominently visible on its facades. Between those – and cantilevering
beyond them considerably – span more than 70 metres long prestressed concrete beams. Two per floor, spaced 14m deep, connected by a minimized secondary floor and beam construction. As a result, the individual floors seem to rest between the primary pylons like a stack of shelves inserted through a pair of ladders. The centre-span of the longitudinal beams measures 39 meters, its cantilevers 16 meters
on each side. A 76 meter long, three-storey podium, sits off -centre underneath the high-rise slab. Both volumes are interconnected through a shared vertical circulation core.

Approximately 50m in height, the building is a masterpiece of structural engineering. Responsible for its structure were legendary Austrian engineer Robert Krapfenbauer in cooperation with the Munich firm Dyckerhoff & Widmann. A column-free plan allowed for the first open-space offices in Austria in the 1960s, and today provided an ideal starting point for a sustainable refurbishment of the Philips Haus. Its open,
interrupted layout facilitated a great variety of adaptations: from loft to micro apartment, all possibilities for conversion into contemporary forms of housing could be exploited. The result might be called a ‘vertical village’, composed from serviced apartments, supermarkets, restaurants, fitness club, parking and a future connection to the new U2 underground metro line.

Nine standard floors of the high-rise contain 135 serviced apartments which range in size from 30 to 46 m2. As future investments they are not intended for immediate personal use, but will be rented on a daily to monthly basis, fully furnished and supported by hotel-like infrastructure. Every apartment affords impressive views over the city, or southward across Lower Austria and to the Schneeberg. A truly magnificient 360° vista can be experienced from the 12th floor penthouse.

Revitalisation of the building was carried out in close coordination with the historic preservation authorities, as since 2010 the facade, structure and circulation cores had become registered monuments. Reconstruction of the aluminium ribbon windows received particular attention and was subtle reinterpretation of Schwanzer’s original facade from the 1960s – which did not survive into the 21st century and had been replaced a few times.
A terrain modification from the 90ies could be undone, and the southern side re-established with its landmark panoramic window. Hence the podium would again – as intended by Karl Schwanzer – appear to be hovering above a slightly setback ground floor. Philips Haus became PhilsPlace, and thus - not least through its name - the original concepts and spirit of the building live on.

 
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Status: Built
Location: Vienna, AT
Firm Role: Architect

 
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger
photographer: Leo Fellinger