Berger+Parkkinen has designed a versatile editorial office for the Austrian media project Addendum in Vienna’s seventh district. The concrete building at Siebensterngasse 21, a former bank from the late 70s, is flanked on both sides by historic buildings. The ground floor opens up to a picturesque garden at the end, which is visible from the street. By stringing together differentiated zones, Berger+Parkkinen created a varied and spacious office landscape.
The entrance area serves as a reception, but can also be used for informal meetings and smaller events. The necessary infrastructure of a kitchenette is hidden behind a bright orange wall covering, opposite a large, blue velvet sofa. As a contemporary interpretation of the open-plan typology, there are numerous possibilities for retreat and communication, in addition to the adjoining large workroom, including telephone boxes, small meeting rooms and a tea kitchen with staff lounge. The long work tables are reminiscent of old library tables, the tabletops in brushed, lightened oak are structured with the typical inlays of dark linoleum. There are no assigned desks, the employees can freely choose their workspace.
The vault not only formed the backbone of the bank but, with its meter-thick concrete walls, it is an unalterable element, which we successfully integrated into the open office plan. By carving out the formerly clad exposed concrete, the massiveness became even more tangible. The manual processing of the concrete in the 1970s, with rough tamped concrete surfaces on the side walls up to the high-strength concrete of the vault, becomes visible through the exposure.
The complex daylight situation in the existing building presented a particular challenge in the design of the office rooms. Because of the windowless sidewalls, lighting was introduced from above, through the use of skylights. The lighting is staged via light pyramids. The bright insides of the pyramids visually enhance the daylight by reflecting it. This creates a virtual light horizon, above which all installations and constructions recede into shadow.
The large room can be structured with acoustically effective curtains via a rail system. In this way, one half of the room can be quickly transformed into a lecture room for 60 people or a round & intimate meeting room for a project team.
The material concept is based on exposing the solid components, in order to emphasize the haptic and sensuous quality of the raw material. The exposed concrete is complemented by filled concrete floors, dark raw steel and oiled matte black wooden surfaces. A soft contrast is created by the curtains, the textile wall tapestries and the covers of the softly upholstered chairs in various grey fabrics, traditionally used for men’s suits. The bright orange of the folding walls in the intermediate area gives this space a special energy and radiance, otherwise disrupted by the lack of daylight.
Photography: Wolfgang Thaler