"A creative place to work, think and connect in the middle of the city."
We love to explore new and unusual paths. Working together as equals and maintaining an intensive exchange of knowledge with others is – we are sure of that – beneficial to all. We live this philosophy at Franz&Sue, in the ‘fight club’ and in our voluntary work in various architectural institutions. Several of our projects are developed in cross-practice working groups even today. Thus, we realised a project that’s very close to our hearts together with friends and colleagues: Stadtelefant (city elephant) near Helmut Zilk Park.
A creative cluster in one of the most exciting development areas with a public cafeteria and a shared meeting and event room. For discussions, networking and cross-practice projects.
We believe that together we are stronger and life is easier. Therefore, we developed, designed and built our office building right next to Vienna’s Central Station as a limited liability company (GmbH). It includes our architect friends from SOLID and PLOV as well as companies from related sectors such as A-NULL Bausoftware (construction software) and Hoyer Brandschutz (fire safety).
"Stadtelefant is a pioneering project, that has been developed, planned, built and financed independently by a limited company of commercial users."
The building culture promoter ›architektur in progress‹ and Architekturstiftung Österreich (Austrian architecture foundation) are renting a co-working space. The ground floor will be enlivened with a joint programme. On the sixth floor, the office of Statik Petz (structural analysis) enjoys a bird’s eye view of the area.
"Expert knowledge is concentrated across the various floors of our house."
Meet you on the ground floor
Communication is crucial for us – good work and, most importantly, a good life are not possible without it. Franz&Sue have always had fresh meals cooked for the team every day: a perfect opportunity to get together, to talk and to celebrate.
"A building where we work, discuss projects and exchange knowledge and information, with a public cafeteria to enjoy lunch together and a room for events."
There is much room for all that in our new building, too: 100m2 on the ground floor, to be exact. The public cafeteria (›Das Lokal im Stadtelefant‹) is run by Barbara Chira and Tobias Radinger, who also provide lunch for all in-house offices. This communal place is used as a space for discussions, informal events and meetings. Furthermore people living and working in the neighbourhood as well as members of Vienna’s architectural scene are invited to drop in and be ‘our’ guests.
Many aspects of this project have been inspired by the historic buildings from Vienna’s ›Gründerzeit‹ period (an era of industrialisation, accompanied by a restructuring of the city and a building boom in the second half of the 19th century). This is most notable in the ceiling heights: 3.20 metres are quite unusual for new office developments. It may have cost us an additional floor but it has given us the quality and atmosphere of a classic Viennese building. With its big windows in an austere concrete grid the façade also provides a refreshing contrast to the glass-cube monotony of typical new office blocks.
"The Architecture Cluster, and the Sonnwendviertel where it is being built, take the urban qualities and structures of Vienna’s ›Gründerzeit‹ era and blend them with modern standards."
Flexible and sustainable
The floor plan allows for a flexible layout of the individual floors – there are no load-bearing partitions, corridors or circulation areas here. Only the staircase/WC core adds structure to the areas. This ensures long-term flexibility in using the space.
"We see it as a contemporary and economical method. Honest materials for an honest house."
Joseph Suntinger, Franz&Sue project manager for the office building
Precast concrete slabs measuring approximately 3.3 x 3.6 metres are pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle for the façade – which comes with a special feature: prefabricated surfaces of sandblasted fair-faced concrete on the inner and outer sides, with the thermal insulation already fitted in between. This method allows us to keep building services technology to a minimum – concrete acts as a thermal store, and the reinforced concrete ceilings ensure cooling and minimal ventilation.