The penthouse is located on the roof of the Alpenmilchzentrale building in Vienna’s 4th district, a dairy built in the 1960s and 1970s, which is now used by young companies and professionals after abandoning its original use.
With the house fully occupied, the owner and manager of the building and his fox terrier Theo came across the old water tank on the roof of the building when looking for a place to live – an ideal place for living with the flat roof in front as a large terrace and a wonderful view over the rooftops of Vienna, but small, with only 18 sq.m. of floor space.
This roof structure could not be extended to the outside. Only with a great deal of constructive and financial effort would it have been possible to build on the skimpily dimensioned concrete roof slab.
The scope of the project was clear-cut: all that’s necessary for living. Not in a luxurious fashion, but to be used daily in a serviceable and pleasant way.
The water container got cut out, the wall, which closed the space thus liberated against the terrace, was completely removed and replaced by a generous two-winged glass door. As far as the head clearance of the adjacent stairways allowed for, the oblique concrete support of the old tank was extended to the outer wall, to let the light from the west into the room through a fixed glazing. The new floor, made of glass-fiber-reinforced and sealed concrete, is extended outwards onto the terrace, making the room seem generous despite its small size.
The old walls are now painted in ivory, but left rough, with their humps and dents, recognizable as something old. On the slope a console made of natural steel plates is mounted, containing cooking plates and a waste bin. The refrigerator is suspended from the ceiling. Shower is free in the room. A shower deck made of stainless steel is let into the concrete floor and the fitting and the shower head are simply mounted on the wall.
The bed, table and wardrobe disappear as required in openings that have been broken into the lateral outer wall. At the bottom of the bed and box guide rails are installed, in which floor pins run. Thus, a certain amount of force is required to set the parts in motion, but no goal security to bring them back into their wall slots. Behind the openings are boxes, which were placed in the simplest way as a wooden construction with thermal insulation and a skin made of roofing material on the flat roof. And then there is the TV, which is mounted in a rotatable steel drum in the wall to the toilet. Thus, in all living conditions, one is connected with the great wide world.
Client: T.O. Wirtschaftspark, Vienna
Programme: Penthouse on 18 sq.m. floor area
Address: Weyringergasse 36/5, 1040 Wien
Planning and construction period: Jan – Dec 1999
Photos: Hertha Hurnaus, Wien