Urban housing, Nordbahnhof
The building forms part of a cluster of approximately100 apartments including a café/library, a multipurpose communal room and a roof terrace. It was developed on a former railway yard close to Vienna city centre, for social housing developers 'Neues Leben' in collaboration with Werner Neuwirth and von Ballmoos Krucker Architekten.
The competition brief for a 75-hectare former railway yard close to the centre of Vienna asked for a response to the challenges of 'intercultural living', and Viennese architect Werner Neuwirth invited SBa and Zurich-based von Ballmoos Krucker to form a competition team with Europe-wide expertise in housing. A number of design principles were established collectively to ensure the formal coherence of the project whilst allowing each practice to work independently.
Individual buildings are arranged in a cluster so that they appear as one compound element. Falling outside the traditional housing categories of perimeter block, court and free-standing block, the ensemble embodies selective qualities of each typology. The defining element is the paved central space between the buildings - an urban form that feels familiar but has an unusual monumental openness.
The three practices’ approach to internal organisation offers a wide array of different split-level and maisonette apartment configurations across the 90 dwellings, as well as common facilities such as a café/library, a multipurpose room and a shared roof terrace.
The project was awarded the prestigious Austrian Bauherrenpreis in 2014 and was nominated for Mies van der Rohe European Awards 2015.