The Gasometer neighbourhood in Vienna’s 11th district, Simmering, is a mixed-use area with an extremely heterogeneous architecture where commercial and office buildings meet suburban structures; the area is dominated by the A23 motorway and its slip road, making it quite a challenging environment for the new ‘Wohnbasis Alpha 11’.
"The science-fiction inspired ›Alpha 11‹ is our ironic nickname for the project."
Without any usable urban structures worth integrating, the long rectangular block and the townhouse are oriented towards the large (partly-developed) future park. The name ‘Wohnbasis’ (which translates as ‘residential base’) speaks for itself: comprising 90 apartments, the buildings form the starting base of what is to become a functioning urban environment providing high-quality open space.
Green living for everyone
With its perforated façade the building presents a reserved yet friendly face towards the street (which will be heavily used in the future) while opening up to the park along its entire length. Loggias and balconies accompany the apartments along the entire western front. All rooms located here offer direct outdoor access: living space generously opens out to green space.
"Our pioneering achievement here is that we have been able to create a sense of identity and intimacy in an otherwise rather characterless place."
While some parts are just wide enough to allow room for a few potted plants and a small bar table, every apartment also has a bigger balcony with enough space for a dining table. This open façade serves as a strong basic structure that leaves all options open for the residents’ personal use.
Old and young under a single roof
Right from the start of the planning phase we engaged in in-depth discussions with the project developer, Kallco, on how a building can function well for several generations, specifically taking into account the needs of those aged 55+. A great number of differently sized apartments casually spread across the building ensure a good mix of young and old, families and singles, wealthy residents and those with a tighter budget. The skilful combination of a central-corridor system with staircases serving groups of apartments allows for a wide variety of floor plans without any constructional drawbacks.
"Our floor plans allow for flexibility and the changes that life brings with it."
Apartments can quickly be made barrier-free with minimum effort so that they can be used by people with special needs or disabilities. They are adaptable to life’s changes, such aschildren coming and going, partnerships changing, a new job requiring a home office or caring for elderly parents at home, which makes certain demands on space.
In order to shorten construction time and ensure maximum flexibility to meet possible future needs in the apartments, the building was erected using a steel frame with bracing reinforced concrete elements and a maximum number of lightweight walls.
This makes it easier to react to different, changing needs in the individual units. And what is not possible in one’s own apartment can be made possible in the smaller units that can also be used as offices or studios. All bigger apartments are dual aspect with windows on opposite sides and get morning and evening sun.
A mansion in the city
The townhouse is the little brother of the long rectangular block. Using the same family of materials, its façade nevertheless has its own language. Inside, the rental apartments have a classic floor plan. All apartments are dual aspect.
"Thanks to its high-quality materials and furnishings the privately financed project meets all the demanding requirements of social housing construction."