The Headquarters of the internationally operating architectural firm Baumschlager Eberle is based in Lustenau at lake Constance. A well-proportioned office building with brick cavity walls committing itself to the credo: Do things as easily as possible!

Project details

Project Office building in Lustenau, Austria
Client Baumschlager Eberle Architekten, Lustenau
Architect Baumschlager Eberle Architekten, Lustenau
Used material
Exterior cavity wall:
- internal shell 38 N+F
- external shell Porotherm 38 Hi N+F
Interior wall:
- Porotherm 25 - 38 N+F

Office building in Lustenau, Austria © Norbert Prommer

Office building in Lustenau, Austria © Norbert Prommer

Office building in Lustenau, Austria © Norbert Prommer

Office building in Lustenau, Austria © Norbert Prommer

Office building in Lustenau, Austria © Norbert Prommer

Office building in Lustenau, Austria © Norbert Prommer

Office building in Lustenau, Austria © Norbert Prommer

Office building in Lustenau, Austria © Norbert Prommer

Office building in Lustenau, Austria © Norbert Prommer

Office building in Lustenau, Austria © Norbert Prommer

Office building in Lustenau, Austria © Norbert Prommer

Office building in Lustenau, Austria © Norbert Prommer

The message

The interior and exterior walls as well as the ceilings play an essential role, so that the use of construction materials was reduced and perfectly co-ordinated. Interfaces and possible defects are thus also reduced. Being able to decide on the relationship to the environment all by oneself is a crucial concern for client and architect, Dietmar Eberle. His credo: do things as easily as possible!

Ecologically sound and affordable living

The preconditions for a house free from any technology: brick and rooms with a ceiling height of up to 4.30 metres. When questioned about economic efficiency, Eberle initially addresses pleasant light distribution in the interior, which was abandoned in favour of economic optimisation and compensated with technology in the 20th century: ‘Floor-to-ceiling windows are designed to achieve a maximum possible exploitation of daylight. In 80 percent of all cases, the windows are positioned wrongly.’ Eberle wants to build in a way that people with normal incomes can have affordable housing. He already took first steps in favour of ecologically sound construction with his initiatives 35 years ago, long before sustainability was branded: the passive house with controlled ventilation.

Core element: Brick masonry

The façade is an impressive monolithic structure constructed as  cavity wall, with each layer built of bricks with a thickness of 38 centimetres. The inner layer provides pressure resistance, whereas the second one is responsible for efficient insulation. This construction is pollution-free and durable, balances the insulating, storage and load bearing properties and thus creates the conditions for solid mineral plasters containing
slaked lime. Roof and ceilings are made of prefabricated concrete units, which are cast on site. The result: a pleasant, constant indoor climate as a definite advantage of the brick construction method.

What has brick got to do with well-being?

The building material brick allows for balanced differences in temperature between the
indoor air and surfaces as well as between the surfaces. A basic principle of the energy concept was the consideration of traces of the occupants inside the building and using them to control the ventilation via windows. Consequently, the number of people that are inside the building at the same time matters in the calculation. Deep window reveals reduce the heat input; internal ventilation sashes for optimal indoor climate are controlled via sensors but can also be operated manually. In the preliminary stages, complex simulations of flow conditions were carried out to determine the exact shape of vent openings. In winter, waste heat of computers provides a great heat input, and in summer, the sashes are opened at night to cool the interior with supply air. Sensors support the users’ activities. ‘And that’s all there is in terms of technological devices’, Eberle sums up.
According to Eberle, one could handle the resources in the office building without technology – external temperature, light, air quality, windows, and rooms – in a way that their use values improve and increase in the long term. In Vorarlberg, the building concept in brick construction is now applied in social housing projects. Two other projects will commence this year.

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