house johannhöhe, graz

Based on the steep slope of this little plot of land and the consequent restrictions, a concept was developed that comprises both a clearly laid out structure and an ingenious layering of the spatial figurations. The building sits on the upper edge of the slope, a strict cube with solid cellar and lightweight timber living/bedroom storey, roughly parallel to the boundaries of the site and the access road. Out of its cubage are cut bodies that serve as terraces and recessed balconies; by retaining the contours of the outline the cube preserves its basic form. While the upper floor faces the outside with small, closable openings and horizontal larch boarding, the ground floor forges a strong link to the outdoor area by means of extensive façade glazing and the terrace adjoining the kitchen area, with car port below. This connection continues on the basement floor, from the door to the garden to the swimming pool. The kitchen terrace can also be accessed from the garden by means of an embankment. Inside the house, the contrast between the strict building and the flowing movement of the slope morphs into a three-dimensional game that pervades all areas. The living, dining, cooking and library functions are combined in the entrance storey, with different materials and small changes of level defining the various zones and mimicking the general terrain situation. A central staircase provides access to three levels, its gradient running parallel to the slope, with visual links to the outside indicating its course. As on the living-room floor, the bedroom floor, its rooms arranged around the staircase, also has a recessed balcony affording a view of the city. While partially uncovered, thanks to the continuous roof parapet it stands out clearly as a separate space and as part of a concept that renders elements visible from various sides.


location: 8043 Graz, Austria
client: Dr. Lore Neuwirth-Hohensinn and DI Josef Hohensinn
planning: Hohensinn Architektur
team: Karlheinz Boiger
structural consultant: DI Franz Mitter-Mang, Waldkraiburg, Bayern
wood construction: company Kulmer, Graz
building area: 130,7 m²
usable floor space: 173,4 m²
start of planning: summer 1998
start of construction: solid construction (cellar): autumn 1998
wood construction: 03/1999
completion: 09/1999