The client is a family of six that is desperate to preserve an old house on a plot of land in Klosterneuburg/Austria – a ruin that is too small but charming. In order not to „crush“ the old house from a visual perspective, the architects turned one annex into three. The children’s tower, the living room and the dining area, which connects old and new and where the family comes together like around a campfire.
The architects shifted three new volumes around and against the old cottage to create three utterly different interior and exterior spaces. The living room looks straight out into the vineyards, the children’s tower overlooks the valley and a small breakfast terrace says hello to the neighbors in the southeast. All this can be discovered in a matter of minutes in this cluster of houses and despite the distinctive spatial areas, one always has the feeling of strolling through a continuous space.
We enter the property immediately via one of the three outdoor areas. From here you can enter the renovated existing building via a few steps or take a look into the central and permeable dining area – the heart of the building. From here you have a view of the south terrace as well as the garden in front of the vineyards – it is the central space and a link to different parts of the garden – it feels a bit like being in the middle of the green.
The dining room does not only connect the outdoor areas, but it is the connecting link for all the interior areas as well. To the west the living room, to the north-east the two-story children’s tower with 4 children’s rooms and in the south the existing building with the kitchen on the ground floor and the parents’ bedroom on the upper floor.
The gardens are not large empty voids. By sitting between the volumes and being connected by the dining area, they originate with the best of both worlds: they form a combined large entity and at the same time are small, easily graspable, and visible sections, each with its character. The team believes that a lot of colorful things are richer than little of the same. The garden is substantial – because open space is essential!
Smartvoll has taken the desire of the owners to preserve the existing house at all costs very seriously. Existing buildings are atmospheric sources that enhance every bare new building with their history, patina, and charm. A sure instinct, care, and caution are needed here in dealing with the volumes. A small existing house is happy to be overwhelmed by new and large volumes. This is certainly one of the reasons why the architects decided to accommodate the new layout in three new buildings. These form a passe-partout that presents and celebrates the old rather than letting it perish – the solitary effect of the existing building is not damaged by the additions, but rather enhanced.
The team also did not want to devalue the existing building in functional terms. The kitchen is located in the old part in direct proximity to the dining room. Family frequency should not be taken away from the old but should contribute to a lively exchange between old and new. And this is exactly how the architects arranged the functions: one constantly commutes between existing and new buildings.