Artec Architecten have completed a multi-generational living complex at Mühlgrund, in Vienna's 22nd district. The site is located to the south of the city, close to a set of elevated tracks. The 7-storey, bar-shaped building, with only a minimal strip of land surrounding it, screens the low-slung structures to the south from the tracks, where the U2 rapid-transit line runs.
In response to the setting, the architects developed a new version of the balcony-access apartment house. The volume features a stairway and elevators on each end, and a vertically kinked skin directs and diffuses the light. This screen, combined with a metal perforated wall, cloaks the building's elevation facing the elevated rapid-transit line. This creates a hall within the thermal building envelope (constructed to the passive-house energy standard) with distinctive characteristics: long, narrow and high, with varying incidence of light and a variety of spatial experiences.
A cascade stair in the narrow zone between the corridor and the metal wall leads from the main entrance through the building to the top level. In between is a vertical garden with 1000 plants in eleven 7-metre-long prefabricated concrete planters, whose tension cables were developed three-dimensionally. The entrances to the flats are recessed, doubling the width of the corridor. Oak windows between the apartments and the hall provide daylight and views to the internal garden.
The roof terrace, for use by all residents and nestled between the beds of plants, compensates for the lack of outdoor space at ground level. The compact one-bedroom apartments — most of which can be enlarged by annexing the neighbouring unit — each have a loggia extending the width of the apartment, and sliding-textile solar protection oriented to the south.
Situated on the ground floor is a flat-share with nursing services and a large terrace. The apartments on the ground floor — which is raised slightly above the ground — are connected to an additional zone below with workshops, studios, doctors' offices, etc., accessible directly from the sidewalk. In addition, there is a common area equipped with kitchen appliances, and a door leading directly outdoors. The apartments on the top two floors have two levels, and two terraces.