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Hagenstrasse Residential Building
Client: Mag. D. Kaar
Location: Linz 2004 - 2006
An oasis amid the urban bustle
Hagenstraße Residential Building

Urban sites are generally not particularly cosy places, especially if they are beside busy roads. In an inner courtyard, however, things are different – as with the Hagenstrasse residential building. If the architectural concept includes plenty of greenery, the result is an oasis offering a high quality of life.

The Hagenstrasse residential building in Linz-Urfahr stands in a courtyard between Rudolfstrasse and Hagenstrasse, which makes it very quiet despite the busy traffic on the Rudolfstrasse. The client lived with his mother in a house on the site, and wanted not only to build a modern house for himself and his mother, but also to exploit the site to the full, in order to have additional property to put on the market.

Urban situation
The development plan was extremely restricted by the client´s wishes, but the design makes the most of the given possibilities. An underground garage was planned next to the building, to serve not only the seven new flats, but also the residents of the surrounding area, for whom insufficient spaces had been available.

The concept consists of two structures: a two-storey L-shaped block with attic extension and a single-storey triangle with a stepped-back upper storey. Although the plans for this second block included the possibility of a gabled roof, the unfavourable geometry of the ground-plan would have rendered proper lighting of the living area impossible. In the present version, the stepped-back upper storey has large surrounding balconies, and the attic extension of the L-shaped block has a splendid roof terrace.

Architecture
The focus of Kaufmann / Partner´s architectural considerations was to build in this green, romantic inner courtyard a house that would not immediately look new, but would seem as though it had always been there – "vintage architecture", so to speak. With time, the façade and the whole roof should be overgrown. A mesh of untreated steel wire fabric serves as a trellis; this is not only an inexpensive building material, but its rust patina makes it ideal for "used architecture".

In order to relieve the severe geometric effect of the blocks, the openings and windows were framed with brownish façade panels flush with the steel wire mesh. This is intended primarily to divert the creepers from the windows and openings, so that the plant growth requires a minimum of human intervention. The fully insulated façade tones in with the brown of the wire mesh, so that the whole building gives an impression of warmth.

The client himself called the project "Villa Verde", and thanks to the rapid growth of the climbing plants, this epithet is becoming increasingly applicable. If in the next stage the communal pool is implemented, the Hagenstrasse will truly gain an oasis amid the urban bustle.

Photos: Dietmar Tollerian
Text: Norbert Tomasi
Architecture: factoryDA