ARGE atelier Thomas Pucher & Bramberger architects
best architects 12
Graz | Austria
Nikolaiplatz, as it stands today, is the result of extensive conversion and development over the years. While architectural styles (as well as desired building densities) have changed, site shapes have always remained the same. Our building stands on the site of a boathouse that was built four centuries ago on the then unregulated river ‘Mur’. Later, a two-storey warehouse was erected here, and later still – in the 80s, a car park was constructed under the entire square. The warehouse was demolished, but the size and position of the site remained unchanged. To be able to subsequently develop the site, the garage was planned in such a way that it would be able to carry a two-storey solid construction. Today, our building stands on the site – and fills it down to the last millimetre, only the number of floors has been increased 2.5 times. This was made possible by a consistently lightweight construction with a complex distributor grill under the building. This invisibly distributes the concentrated loads of the steel girders onto the supports of the underground car park which are spread throughout the site. The clear volume and elegant height of the building react precisely to the heterogeneous urban situation which we found. On the one side – towards Entenplatz – the house acts as a boundary for the area, on the other side – towards Nikolaiplatz – it is a free-standing aesthetic solitaire. A building that becomes a sculpture in its simplicity. The closed façade components – externally covered with a shimmering silver and gold coating – accommodate shelves and archives on the inside of the rooms and (depending on the users’ requirements) become blocks of varying thickness.