One is struck by the fascinating character of the building when its comes to its ability of generating space and landscape, which is not least enhanced by the unbuilt area of the Schweizer Garten surrounding it.
The focus here is on urban development. The building’s presence on Arsenalstraße, which is currently insufficient, is to be augmented by lowering the area in front of the structure and transform it into an atrium. Its façade and the access bridge will thus define the space in between, which will lastingly influence the building’s setting. The exposure of the basement and the consistent continuation of the extant topology will result in a purposeful reassessment and redefinition of this venerable place.
The 21er Haus is accompanied by a small isolated six-storey building in the form of a tower that will be as wide as the forecourt and have a signalling effect from the distance. The façade of the new building quotes the extant grid that forms the shell of the 21er Haus. Horizontal and vertical bands are to attract attention through scrolling texts that transfer the building’s content to the outside. The monofunctional nature of the building proper is diminshed in favour of an open museum structure. The upper storey remains variably usable as a fully airconditioned exhibition space. The space for temporary exhibitions on the ground floor is first and foremost characterized by the spatial experience created by the monumental central hall and the view of the adjacent park landscape of the Schweizer Garten. The basement, similarly unfolding into the surrounding free space, house the holdings of the Fritz Wotruba Foundation. Moreover, it accommodates a café and restaurant (including an outdoor area), a sculpture garden, cloakrooms, a children’s studio, storage facilities (that will also be used to keep the public Artothèque), and HVACR.
The overall goal is to preserve the special and characteristic appearance of a structure that has become known as a symbol of the cultural development of the post-war period. The focus is not primarily on material or the manifest building substance as such, but rather about the space that is generated by the shell of the 21er Haus. This quality is to be conserved, for art can only breathe in a milieu of lightness and airiness.
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