Design Studio SS 19



Within the scope of the ggst. The design programme focuses on two properties on Ottenschlager Strasse in Spitz an der Donau in Lower Austria. On the one hand, the former bed-and-breakfast “Zur Alten Mühle” and its structural extensions (including a bakery) are to be given a meaningful change of use and adapted to the current requirements of a contemporary hotel business. On the other hand, the so-called “Punzhaus” has also suffered from vacancy for several decades. This building was formerly used as a dwelling. This building is located within a protected ensemble – the so-called “Erla(ch)hof” – and is partly in a critical condition from a structural point of view. In both cases, additions / conversions and extensions can and should be considered. In any case, however, these should also be subjected to a critical examination against the background of the protection of historical monuments and the overriding world cultural heritage. Also of relevance is the fact that the plots of both sites border on a steeply rising topography (with the castle ruins of “Hinterhaus”) and look towards the Tausendeimerberge, which is so characteristic of Spitz. Access to direct sunlight is limited on this side of the valley due to its location during the winter season. Of particular interest in the course of this design exercise are considerations regarding future use in conjunction with the special framework conditions of monument and ensemble protection (World Heritage Site).


Looking at the design approaches presented, the first thing that strikes one is the wide variety of proposed solutions for the two locations “Punzhaus” and “Alte Mühle”. In any case, dealing with the historical substance becomes a challenge for the students. A challenge within which it is not least a question of introducing a certain degree of contemporary, today’s understanding of architecture and also making it visible. Although the existing buildings are treated with respect, the contemporary element comes through again and again. Be it through interior measures, additions and extensions or through cuts and reductions in the building structure. In each case, something is set against the existing building that knows how to create tension in connection with history. In both cases, questions are asked about today’s quality of life and living, and these are discussed in connection with the existing buildings. If in the case of the Punzhaus it is a priori the question of today’s living standards that is the focus of attention, in the case of the “Alte Mühle” it is often the question of the connection of different possible uses that seems to drive the individual designs, not least for reasons of the large cubature. In this context, uses are proposed that are not only intended to benefit the future residents, but also the immediate and wider community. In any case, the aim is to breathe new life into the two properties; meeting places and encounter zones are created that are supposed to be able to create a new form of public life. The individual designs often seem to intentionally want to attract interest and attention. Probably not least to arouse curiosity, which could be the harbinger of a new life in old walls.