Design Studio SS 21

Design Studio SS 21: REMIX Hohenwarth / In the middle and yet on the edge


The focus of the design programme in question was a property at a road junction with adjacent buildings in Hohenwarth. The focus of the design programme was a property at a road junction with adjacent buildings in Hohenwarth, Lower Austria (approx. 450 inhabitants and 220 ha of vineyards). It can be assumed that this intersection will be traffic-calmed in the future due to a planned bypass. This property, which is to be provided with a meaningful use, consists of a former café with various adjoining indoor and outdoor premises. The immediate proximity to the community and cultural centre had to be dealt with and addressed. Questions regarding necessary parking spaces and the existing traffic situation round off the complex context and invite visions around a lively and open village centre. In the context of this design exercise, utilisation concepts were to be combined with architectural measures that contribute to a meaningful development. The main objective was to develop a realisable overall concept and a concrete usable design solution.


If one considers the designs around the centrally located area within the village of Hohenwarth, the first thing that strikes one is the variety of approaches to solutions in terms of use, but also the varying degree of density of development. Some projects focus on the theme of isolated objects that seek to be located in an open space that is open to the general public. Some other projects, on the other hand, take a completely contrary approach and examine the possible density or the degree of achievable/usable development with their design proposal. Consequently, the projects are also dedicated to different – quite self-chosen – objectives. From the “village square for all” to the dominant senior citizens’ residence, there are now numerous approaches to solutions, which are, however, based on generally recurring questions. One of these questions is certainly due to the integration into the existing structure. The site, with its complex boundaries and challenging topography, demands a holistic strategy from the designer, which subsequently defines the fundamental composition of the building. Another “unspoken” question is that of opening. At the moment, since the calming of the streets has not yet taken hold, the place seems, for understandable reasons, to close itself off from the streets that run through it. Even though many of the adjacent houses are windowed, the urban backdrop is rather forbidding. On the basis of this situation and the hope for future traffic calming through a targeted bypass, it is understandable that the desire for an “open” village centre is being voiced: a village square for everyone, where meeting and exchange are writ large. The recurring desire for a connection with the event area located in the vicinity is all too obvious here. Thus, from design to design, the area, which currently appears rather hidden, is transformed into an open village centre with terrain jumps and edges that not infrequently try to reach towards the existing premises of the community centre. The architectural language used varies from the utmost restraint in the sense of a return to “times gone by” to thoroughly progressive-looking building designs that consciously step out of the existing context. It is to be hoped that Hohenwarth will be able to realise the desired traffic calming in the near future and that, as a result, the place or its centre will experience an opening that can invite visitors and residents to linger beyond its intended use.