The project consists in the renovation of a 16th Century listed building in Carinthia, Austria. The property was in the state of a ruin, as the construction was interrupted abruptly with the Thirty Year’s war (1618-1648) and the building was never completed. The renovation project thus entailed not only restoring the building for residential use, but de facto completing it and at the same time retroactively connecting it to all infrastructural systems, such as acqueduct, sewers, elecritity, etc.
The design intent was that of allowing the character of the unfinished building to remain legible and to respect the structural integrity of the historic fabric. The meter-thick stone walls of the facade were preserved unplastered, windows were re-opened restoring their frames and pediments, a new shindle roof was applied after restoring carefully the original beam structure of the roof. Inside the tripartite system of the original typology was preserved, allowing the center of the house to remain raw while designing finished interiors in the two side wings. Heating, produced by an external wood-pellet central heating included in the barn, was embedded as underfloor heating, and all finishes reflect a highly detailed interior.
The client’s desire to present here contemporary works of art, suggested a rather minimalistic design, softened by the use of old materials for the wooden flooring and fireplace, for example. A sophisticated wireless alarm system was also integrated to protect the collection.
The restoration project received a local award from the Denkmal-Amt (State Preservation Office) comprising of a special mention and a retroactive, not-requested, sponsorship for the project.
In 2014, the focus shifted to the surrounding grounds with the ladscape design of the extensive garden. Guided by the need to shield the view of the neighbouring properties, the garden design entailed extensive ground movements and the plantation of numerous trees and hedges. A collaboration with Bruns, the largest European nursery based in North Germany, ensured a careful selection of appropriate trees for the region. As for the building, the design aimed to produce a garden that would at once feel enclosed, with trees proportioned to the apparent age of the architectural structure, but that would retain a degree of rawness conceptually in line with the apparent ruin-state of the building.