The keystone of the brick arch portico has the year number 1790 engraved inside it. Apart from that, the old house from the formerly independent town of Penzing seems to have been transported wholesale into the present day, or rather, to have been beamed straight into the day after tomorrow.

Project details

Project Wohnbau Penzingerstraße 54, Vienna, Austria
Client Premium Bauträger GmbH
Architect Architektur Steinbacher Thierrichter ZT GmbH / Arch. Stefan Steinbacher, Arch. Roland Thierrichter
Clay roof tiles used Tondach clay roof tiles “Tasche”

Roof of Wohnbau Penzingerstraße

Wohnbau Penzingerstraße 54, Vienna, Austria © Architektur Steinbacher Thierrichter ZT GmbH

Wohnbau Penzingerstraße

Wohnbau Penzingerstraße 54, Vienna, Austria © Architektur Steinbacher Thierrichter ZT GmbH

Courtyard of Wohnbau Penzingerstraße

Wohnbau Penzingerstraße 54, Vienna, Austria © Architektur Steinbacher Thierrichter ZT GmbH

A pair of cool shades

The vermillion on the façade is unapologetically modern, the streamlined roof tiling engages in a bit of millennial reticence, and where once there are sure to have been small, grandmotherly dormers, 15 window prisms, impatient for the future, reflect out onto the street as though the building had donned a pair of cool shades.

A turbulent history

“The residential building on Penzinger Strasse has a turbulent history – not just in distant times, but also more recently,” says architect Roland Thierrichter, who, together with his partner Stefan Steinbacher, planned the refurbishment and conversion project for the Vienna- based property developer Premium. “After all the plans were finished and we had successfully completed the first building negotiation, a part of the building was retroactively historically listed.” Seen in that light, the edifice’s mix of epochs is a product of legal as well as architectural considerations.

The courtyard

In the interior courtyard, the gutted former carriage house, later used as a bottling plant for brandy, got a new wing. A smokehouse in the rear courtyard was sensitively refurbished and adapted to residential uses. The entire courtyard complex was given a new look with strips of green, pebbled areas and red concrete. In all, the residential building offers 23 units, some old, some newly built. The mix of different eras is held together solely by the almost entirely monochromatic colour scheme.

The roof

Seen from the street side, the most noticeable intervention concerns the roof. The old timber roof truss, which had been in a poor state of repair, was removed andreplaced by a new, slightly steeper structure of steel and wood. After a process of consultation with the federal ministry concerned with built monuments, the roof was given a double covering of the so-called Viennese bags. These flat, wire-cut tiles, which correspond to their historical predecessors, give the building its characteristic, linear appearance. The 15 aluminium-clad dormers are a stylistic add-on, with the blue-tinted glass intended to underscore the contrast between the old and the new. Or, as architect Roland Thierrichter puts it, “In its sharp focus and attention to detail, this is a contemporary project from the year 2010, and this fact should and must not let itself be obscured by history.”
 
The building on Penzinger Strasse 54 is a kind of precedent for dealing with the built fabric at the intersection of the past and the present – but also for a new, innovative approach to the topic of roofs.

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