SCALING NEW HEIGHTS
Bright and lively atmosphere in dual-leveled loft
A seven-metre-long lava stone block integrates the induction stove, washbasin and herb garden into one solid structure.
The T-shaped stair formation is the centerpiece of the apartment, connecting guests from the first floor opposite ends of the apartment.
To fully appreciate the surrounding mountains, the bed is positioned directly in front of the windows.
The architects included brick walls as a reminder of its history and as a dramatic element that emphasises the hardly personality of the apartment.
The use of oversized windows and cement flooring invite an abundance of light and life into the home.
Not for those with acrophobia, the glass bathing block offers guests the illusion of floating four metres above ground while showering.
Across 350 square metres and two levels, the Panzerhalle is a living history monument from its past as a station for the repairing of battered military tanks decades ago. Today, the building sheds its notorious history and functions as homes to market stands, restaurants, co-working spaces and a loft apartment. After winning an international competition that challenged the team to preserve the historic space and immerse the room with daylight, the designers from the Austrian architectural firm smartvoll took control of the reins to oversee the transformation of the loft apartment.
In the creation of the Panzerhalle, the design team headed by lead architects, Philipp Bauxbaum and Christian Kircher, pursued new ways of accomplishing their goals with extraordinary solutions and an element of surprise.
On the first floor, the epicenter of the room is in the t-shaped staircase created by three different stair sections. It forgoes a typical structure that connects a level to another, replacing it with a fluid concrete structure that appears to be carrying the rooms on the second level. As described by the architects, "one does not see the way between the levels as a vertical, function connection, but rather as an electric spatial experience".
The master bedroom on the second floor yields to an open concept, its contents and the bed frame are visible from the first level due to its relocation directly in front of the windows for an awe-inspiring view of the surrounding mountains. For when privacy and quiet is required, white heavy curtains instantly remove the bedroom from view.
The master bathroom is intentionally placed on the other side of the floor as part of the distribution of elements as separate bodies of space. Part of their transformation is in revolutionising the once-private area of the bathroom. A fully-glazed bathing block of glass protrudes out of the bathing block, giving one an illusion of floating four metres above the ground while lathering up with soap. For those requiring a bit more privacy, the wellness and spa area is hidden from the casual eye and features a sauna and a fireplace.
Preserving a similar open-plan concept, the cooking and dining area is positioned under the stairs to create a roof and demarcate the food preparation and dining area from the rest of the open space. To integrate the induction stove, washbasin and storage areas into one connected unit, the team installed a seven-metre-long block made of lava stone. For the homeowner with green fingers, the kitchen unit has a mini garden patch for herbs to be cultivated.
Throughout the Panzerhalle, bountiful amounts of sunlight from oversized ceiling-to-height windows on both ends flow steadily into the loft to be distributed throughout the space. This is in part permitted due to the architects' decision against the inclusion of a gallery, leaving the windows on the upper levels free and granting access to the natural flow of light. To support the bright atmosphere, the use of smooth and waxed concrete was used to shape the interior, evolve the "spatial experience of both stories" and to "revitalise the space's original charm".
Not only did the design team, led by Bauxbaum and Kircher, overcome monotony in the apartment loft, the revitalisation of the studio has had a positive effect on the entire Panzerhalle complex.