Design Studio SS 11



Wine cellars have in some places lost their original function and their association in a cellar alley is often abandoned to potential decay. In fact, in most cases the original function no longer takes place in the cellar. How can and should the vacated space be used? How does one create an increased amount of daylight for new functions? The subject of this design program is the cellar alley in Großharras, near the Czech border. The design examination of this environment will have to deal not least with questions of dedication and viable concepts of use.


Wine cellars are increasingly exposed to decay. While at first only isolated cellars appeared deserted, entire sections of cellar lanes are now affected. No longer used in their original form, they can no longer be used for other purposes, at least officially. The money for the preservation is missing in many places and the use seems anyway unclear with exception of occasionally over the year taking place cellar celebrations. This project faced the challenging question of how one of these cellar alleys could be given a new function, and what consequences this would have for the existing buildings. In the process, the protection of the ensemble and the current ban on other uses were initially disregarded. Likewise, this project was free of too detailed financing questions for possible new buildings, additions and conversions, even though a concept to be developed cannot do without such considerations altogether. The aim was to do justice to the existing structure as well as the topography and to develop a new function for individual parts or the entire course of the alley with targeted interventions. The projects presented by students of the Faculty of Spatial Planning and Architecture at the Vienna University of Technology open up an extremely broad spectrum of differentiated visions for a location in Lower Austria that does not appear spectacular at first glance. Each individual project is based on a concrete idea of use, which is usually based on the characteristics of the area, its location and its special features and in connection with the respective concept intends to breathe new life into the Kellergassenensemble. The fact that such measures also take their structural “toll”, i.e. that they do not freeze in front of the existing structure, that they sometimes change it and even remove it, may be in the nature of the matter or of the individual processor. What is certain, however, is that respect for the existing substance was a given in every case. The individual decision as to how to deal with the existing structure was left to the designer within the framework of the project. If we now look at the results, we encounter restrained projects as well as emblematic interventions that confront the “inconspicuous cellar alley” with a sign that is visible from afar and that, as it were, summons the visitors of tomorrow. A clientele that differs from time to time. Thus it is here the patients and visitors of an intended rehabilitation clinic, there the guests of a monastic retreat and then again the young members of a meeting place for the community. From the bicycle hotel use over the development of individual club premises, up to Vinotheken, art areas, market places and bathing areas within the cellar tubes up to a thought new community center the arc spans, which makes the project variety in its entirety appear so interesting. The “free” and unconcerned handling of the existing ensemble in such a way shows us in a light-footed manner what potential lies in a cellar alley that does not appear spectacular at first glance. However, it also releases a multitude of further thoughts and supports us in seeing the special in the “everyday”!