ARGE Hohengasser Steiner Wirnsberger
best architects 19
Unterach am Attersee / Austria
The 120-year-old building in the centre of Unterach am Attersee has been used as a kindergarten since 1898. The valuable building fabric – depicted in two paintings by Gustav Klimt – has now been remodelled to meet the requirements of a modern kindergarten while placing emphasis on reviving the characteristics and atmosphere of the heritage building.
Reconfiguring the storeys and fitting out the attic made it possible to accommodate the required spaces within the existing structure. The kindergarten could thus remain in the village centre and its familiar appearance be preserved. The use of natural materials such as untreated wood, loden fabric and linoleum gives the children a feeling for quality and materiality and encourages them to explore their surroundings by touch. To give the attic daylight, the gable sides were partially opened. As a reference to the ribbed wood gable surfaces of the heritage building, the boards were «turned out» to form a filtering wood louvre that allows the daylight to shine far into the interior. The light-flooded open space is divided only by wood-framed glass walls, so that the attic the architects found on their first visit can still be experienced as a whole. This covered terrace in the attic now serves the children as an «outdoor living room», a transition zone between indoors and outdoors.