Located at an important intersection in a developing area of Gmunden, Austria, Haus Salzkammergut introduces a flexible, mixed-use complex to the town, while distinctly responding to its environment. The project is a significant unifier within its urban context, given the dissimilar assortment of nearby buildings and typologies. Its neighborhood impact, multi-functionality, and sustainable consciousness make it an undeniable new attraction for the city.
Spatially, the building form is molded by connections and extensions of existing city axes. A protected building on the site, formerly housing the city’s forestry commission office, provides a historic backdrop to add upon. A new, 3-story home for Raiffeisen Bank makes up the project’s second large mass, and a connecting volume filled with varied programs merges the two. Immediately linking the town to the site is a large-scale ramp stretching generously from the street to the building. It becomes a plaza of sorts, providing a shared public platform and leading to the main entrance.
The materiality of the project plays a key role, in keeping with the values of the clients and inspired by the lakeside town’s water, rock, sky scenery. On the exterior, wood is used as a reduced architectural language, conservative in nature but dynamic in application. It complements neighboring buildings and the Austrian landscape. Trapezoidal lamellas line the façades of the new structure, often adjustable and establishing a dancing language. Black highlights continue the visual simplicity and emphasize the bank’s brand identity.
Functionally, the building acts as a sort of “stadtmöbel” for the town, multi-faceted and progressive. It is much more than just offices, housing a large semi-public space on the ground floor, additional spaces for third-party providers, roof garden, coworking space, and a café/restaurant. A large, exterior corridor along the building connects the building’s two defining streets, mirrored by a similar pathway on the interior that encourages people to walk inside. A custom reception layout in the new building welcomes clients and provides a unique customer experience, complete with biophilic attractions and coffee bar. Adjacent office rooms have patterned curtains for privacy, inspired by the nearby mountain’s rock formations and allowing sunlight to pass through. Private spaces throughout the building take on a textile quality, with carpets and curtains softening spaces having more discrete functions.
The multi-purpose space linking old and new at the center of the site is the heart of the project, and can be used by clients, visitors, office workers, bank members, and the public. Upstairs, the garden is inspired by the region’s riverbeds, water, and mountains and provides a functional outdoor space. Three stories of the new structure are then cut by a large void that visually and conceptually connects its separate parts. A footbridge connecting the new multi-use complex and the existing building is designed as a shadow-filled transition space with a view of the terrace.
Ultimately, the existing building and new structure join to form a multi-use campus forming important urban connections, while providing functional and inviting spaces for the town of Gmunden.