Sergison Bates

Nordbahnhof 122 Urban housing and community space . Vienna

Sergison Bates architects . Werner Neuwirth . von Ballmoos Krucker Architekten . photos: © Stefan Mueller . + bdonline

Our building joins two others by von Balmoos Krucker and Werner Neuwirth to form an intimate urban cluster. Located to the north east of Vienna the building creates a backdrop to the common courtyard to the south west and defines the southerly perimeter of a new landscape garden to the north east. From the courtyard, shared by all three buildings, the city is left outside the site boundary and yet by forming a pedestrian route through this space from the south west to the north west, it creates another sort of intermediary place which is offered back to the city.

Entry to the building is from this space via an external loggia in the corner into a covered entrance hall. Adjacent to this, and opening both to the courtyard and the landscaped garden to the east, is a children’s room. Other associated activities are grouped around such laundry and pram store. The room may also become useful for other communal activities organised by residents. Apartments are organised round a central daylit communal stair hall and entered via a second private hall which serves as an important transition space between the more public world and the intimacy of the home. Apartment sizes are mixed with the expectation that a wide variety of family types will occupy the building as in a diverse and mutually supportive neighbourhood. Each home has a loggia closely connected to the kitchen and living and dining areas and a balcony which may be accessed from bedrooms. The loggia feels like an open-sided room with the potential to be used during many parts of the year. Most apartments have a dual aspect and some higher ceilings of 3.2m in the living rooms. 40% of apartments have a change in level which provides variety and a unique character to individual homes.
The layout of steps within all apartments is designed to be easily modified to provide wheelchair access.

Split-level apartments for larger families or communal households are arranged on the 5th, 6th and 7th floors and a shared rooftop terrace is arranged facing south. This may be used as a communal allotment and outside eating area.
The external expression of the building is of a stuccoed volume in a pigmented colour with a coarse texture. Large openings on the upper floors, of equal size and spacing, are formed for both
loggias and windows. Smoother stuccoed reveals, soffits and side returns re-
shape the opening in detail and provide the necessary fire protection between apartments. The ground floor has a different expression and is of precast concrete panels, beams and posts. It’s misalignment with the upper parts of the building creates an appropriately defined podium expression and identifies the entrance to this urban house.

The building forms part of a cluster of approx.100 apartments including a café/ library, a multipurpose communal room and a roof terrace. Developed on a former railway yard close to Vienna city centre, for social housing developers'Neues Leben'.
In collaboration with Werner Neuwirth
and von Ballmoos Krucker Architekten.

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