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Published: Friday, March 28, 2008

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Seifert House

"There is only a smooth pastel coloured surface inside the concrete 'boulders' (= concrete blocks in the form of simplified rocks)." says BAU|KULTUR (The Bureau for Architecture, Urbanism and Culture) on Seifert House.

By: BAU|KULTUR

Architecture-Page | Seifert House by BAU|KULTUR
Photograph by Paul Ott, courtesy of BAU|KULTUR.

Project details

  • Project Name: Seifert House
  • Client: Mrs. Seifert
  • Project Type: Single family house
  • Design Team: BAU|KULTUR
  • Date of commencement of project: 2004
  • Date of completion of project: 2006
  • Location of site: Volkersdorf by Enns, Austria

Architecture-Page | Seifert House by BAU|KULTUR
Photograph by Paul Ott, courtesy of BAU|KULTUR.

Mrs. Seifert, sixty-three years old and curator of an art gallery, commissioned this house after her previous home, an approximately 150 years old building, burned down. For her new home she demanded a particular requirement - namely, the new house (contrary to her previous one) should fuse with nature in order to give her an immanent feeling of the change of seasons.

Architecture-Page | Seifert House by BAU|KULTUR
Photograph by Paul Ott, courtesy of BAU|KULTUR.

Subsequently, the conception of the house became a deep engagement with Mies, in particular with the Farnswoth House, and the question of how a space should be constituted in order to open itself to the surrounding by simultaneously offering privacy. Furthermore, it became an investigation of how much freedom in space effectively determines the way of living in contrast to a few certain spatial determinations that liberate. Whereas the first model refers to Rietveld's attempts to create freedom e.g. by means of sliding doors etc. the later model refers to Mies' structured open plan.

Architecture-Page | Seifert House by BAU|KULTUR
Photograph by Paul Ott, courtesy of BAU|KULTUR.

Mrs. Seifert tried to follow and understand the conceptual approach with great interest, and supported final decisions on the construction. She spared no effort to understand Mies' architecture and made educational journeys.

Architecture-Page | Seifert House by BAU|KULTUR
Photograph by Paul Ott, courtesy of BAU|KULTUR.

Notes on building construction:

Based on the personal and textual engagement of the owner, the house - which is made of none but concrete and glass - was constructed in less than seven months and with an incredible low budget (1.350 €/m2). Indoor the whole house was made of "hammered"exposed concrete. There is only a smooth pastel coloured surface inside the concrete "boulders"(= concrete blocks in the form of simplified rocks). To emphasise the open character of the house, the floor area around the "boulders"was designed with grey homogeneous concrete filler.

Architecture-Page | Seifert House by BAU|KULTUR
Photograph by Paul Ott, courtesy of BAU|KULTUR.

The lighting system supports the idea of the overall concrete structure: The large niches of the concrete "boulders", e.g. for the library, are covered with satined glass panels and become a source of light during the night. During the day generous skylights bring much sunlight in the rooms inside the two the concrete "boulders."

Architecture-Page | Seifert House by BAU|KULTUR
Photograph by Paul Ott, courtesy of BAU|KULTUR.

There are no columns that stabilize the freestanding glass facade. Hence, the ceiling construction has been planed as a cantilevered structure. We could manage to keep the thickness of the ceiling thin by means of carefully designed reinforcement even though parts of the structure are cantilevered more than seven meters.

Architecture-Page | Seifert House by BAU|KULTUR
Photograph by Paul Ott, courtesy of BAU|KULTUR.

Thanks to the general conception of the positioning and shape of the house, it is not possible to get a glimpse of the interior despite its high openness and transparency.

Since the beginning of the year 2006 Mrs. Seifert lives in the house - with no regrets.

Architecture-Page | Seifert House by BAU|KULTUR
Photograph by Michael Shamiyeh, courtesy of BAU|KULTUR.

Architecture-Page | Seifert House by BAU|KULTUR
Photograph by Michael Shamiyeh, courtesy of BAU|KULTUR.

Architecture-Page | Seifert House by BAU|KULTUR
Photograph by Michael Shamiyeh, courtesy of BAU|KULTUR.

All images were taken before final garden design.

Credits

  • Text, courtesy of the BAU|KULTUR
  • Photographs: 1-8 © Paul Ott, 9-11 © Michael Shamiyeh, courtesy of BAU|KULTUR

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