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Boat’s house at Millstätter lake, Seeboden, Austria

The boathouse was built as a solitary building, at the Seebodner lakeside of the Millstätter lake in Carinthia. The building is positioned at the water’s edge, directly at the foot a precipitous slope, upon which are the remaining buildings of the property complex.  Due to their elevated position, these houses have extensive views to the south and the west.

 

This distinctive nature of the site presented a complicated and technical construction challenge, 10-metre long piles were sunk into the ground to bear the weight of the building, including a basement.  Due to local regulations on nature conservation and water rights a number of measures were required to prevent the construction and the completed house from affecting the earth and the lake.

The requirements dictated by the site lead to a major decision on the design of the building.  The body is split into two distinct sections, those parts over the water and those over ground.  The shoreline is indicated by the different facade materials used for these two sections.  The design brief called for a building that has the appearance of part of nature, growing on the lake side like a reed-bed at the water’s edge, changing its appearance with the seasons.

Wood has been used to describe the elements of the building which project out over the water whilst copper has been used for the section built over the ground.  Both selected materials, the untreated Siberian larch as well as the natural copper panels are subjected to a natural weathering process which gives the building an annually changing appearance, until the wood has turned completely grey and the expanded metal panels are totally covered with the green patina typical for copper.

One key element of the design is hidden on the wood on the west facade.  The local authority would not allow a footbridge/quay to be constructed (although one did exist in the past).  As a result, the designers developed a device that could be folded into the facade.  The uniqueness of the folding elements lays in the fact that, in contrast to the usually available folding elements, they can form a seamless horizontal surface.  In the open position these gates make up the footbridge/quay in the west façade.  On the ground floor of the north facade they establish the entrance gateways to the three boat moorings and in the upper floor, a platform over the lake.  In addition, the infinitely variable folding gates also lend an iridescent quality to the building.

The spatial subdivision of the building reflects the strictly functional and comfort-related aspects of the design: located in the ground floor are the three boat moorings, (one for a motor-, one for a rowing and one for a sailing boat), and the wellness area.  The rooms in this area include a sauna and steam bath, as well as a changing room, and they are assigned to the outside space and to the lake.  In contrast, the thermally separate upper floor accommodates the rooms for solarium, massage and fitness training, as well as a small tea kitchen and a relaxing area.  The space sequence is completed by a generous terrace on which the cultivated vegetation blends with the reed bed of the lake shore.  The three levels are connected by an open staircase which establishes the symbolical connection between the blue of the lake and that of the sky.

The design of the new building, and its landscaping, clearly relate to existing buildings, whilst not imitating or repeating.  By doing so, this stylistically modern building concludes the architectural development of the area, development stretching back several decades, in a contemporary manner.

 

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Building

Completion date: 
2012
Country: 
Austria
Zip code: 
9871
City: 
Seeboden
Location: 

Categories

Applications: 
Facades
Type of building: 
Other
Copper used: 
Classic

Architect

Name, office: 
MHM architects
Address & description: 
Zeltgasse 1A-1080 Wien  
Description: 

 

 

 

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