Projects / Northern Train Station

Housing Development Competition

Starting points for the building arrangement were:

1. The location of the site at the intersection of two roads in the north and west and a green zone in the south.

2. The future urban structure of the area, with relatively small-scale residential towers on the neighboring building lots.

3. The development potential of 85% for the allocated area, although without the possibility of interrupting the enclosed structures.

Urban Development Aspects

A structure was developed to make it possible to orient almost all the apartments toward the green space to the south. By partially recessing the facades, the building volume is optically divided into smaller units, which create a rhythm of surfaces nearly 100m long and takes up the scale of the planned neighboring buildings.

Along the street side urban spaces emerge from an articulated structure which is partly roofed up to 6m high. In connection with these areas, two small retail spaces and a doctor's office are located on the ground floor. The combination of urban space and commercial areas creates a lively, communicative ground level zone, which invites lingering. A 12m-wide and 6m-high passage creates a spacious public connection from the urban area to the green zone. The passage is two times wider than required by building regulations to ensure a zone which is friendly rather than unnerving.

Building Typology

Orienting the apartments toward the green space – combined with the arrangement of the building volumes – creates staircase-access apartments with three stairwells. This structure provides a large number of apartments, which are oriented to both sides and characterized by a favorable layout of space. The purely south-facing apartments are organized in a flexible grid offering the possibility of one-room to five-room apartments.

In connection to the stairwells, the street side of each floor has landscaped shared balconies that help to structure the street front. These balconies can be used and planted by the tenants of the adjacent apartments. They are staggered to create two-story spaces and allow communication across floors.

The garden side apartments include loggia and balcony zones that are staggered from floor to floor to create individual open spaces of up to 6m high. Vertically arranged facade panels in combination with parapets create private open-air retreats. The rooftop terrace is provided for communal use and serves as a field for solar panels.

Social Sustainability

Sustainability is achieved economically through the use of resource-conserving architecture, ecologically through a sufficient open space concept and cooperatively in terms of future generations living together. The concept guarantees Social Sustainability through the flexibility of housing types and the social mix offered by varying rent prices, including subsidized integration housing. Apartment prices are especially helpful in creating a favorable mix of ethnicities: The apartments are offered for rent with the option to purchase. The variable design of the plan has the added advantage that it allows the kitchen to be separated, since many cultures find the integration of the kitchen into the living area unfamiliar and undesirable. Likewise, kitchens located directly next to the sanitary areas are perceived as unhygienic and are therefore avoided in this design.

Green and Open Spaces

The design of open spaces and green features play a mediating role at all levels of the building. The main open-air elements are:

- The residential street: It forms the creative backbone of the ground level zone, flanked on both sides by lawn and patches of grass. Characterized by flexibility and openness of use, these open spaces promote community. This lively zone flows around the entire building – accommodating a variety of needs, inviting participation and providing areas for retreat. Indeed, the long tables are symbols of community life. Toddlers have their own secure play area; teenagers can stand, sit or lie in the center and all ages revitalize the passage and the street scene.

- The decorative ribbons and flowering trees: Patches of grass and shrubs follow a formal approach, creating a colorful framework for the open use of recreational areas. The loose range of trees along the street creates a southern atmosphere, and flowering trees line the residential street. Mediterranean plants adorn the ground level zone and can be overwintered in the stairwell areas.

- The urban spaces – “Meet me at the corner”: The basic furnishings of counters and benches offer variety of choice to the residents and enhance the lively environment. Weekly events of all kind enliven the space, supported by two retail spaces and the doctor's office. A public passageway connects the urban zone and the residential street.

Client GEWOG Gemeinnützige Wohnungsbau GmbH
Address Schweidlgasse, Vienna, 1200
Usable Space 7,440 m2
Units 90 Apartments + 3 retail spaces
Project Status Completed