house p, gnas

Place, location, atmosphere – unquantifiable and yet crucial parameters when buying a house or piece of land. Mr and Mrs P., who work in Vienna and Graz, had found a little disused farm half-way between both cities. Its charisma and surroundings – gently sloping countryside, for centuries agricultural land – seemed to meet their ideas of their future life in the country. The existing fabric of the building, roughly four hundred years old at its heart, had been variously extended and, most recently, modernised in the 1960s, when much of its quality was lost. On closer inspection, it also evolved that the masonry was desolate and that both the dwelling-house, and the farm building at right angles to the north, were practically beyond rescue. Nevertheless, the owners decided on partial renovation. An important measure was to connect the two existing buildings by a new, high, airy living area. From this joint, a connected, open structure was developed that is divided into different zones by means of niches and installations. The former dwelling-house is used for cooking and eating, the bedrooms and all associated functions are housed in the old farm building. The general sense of openness – both in the courtyard and in the disposition of the rooms – was one of the owners’ main wishes. Adjoining this comes the former threshing-floor, an area previously unused, from where stairs run up to the renovated attic, that is to be used as a workroom and studio in the future. Only the roof-truss over the dining-room has already been converted and now houses a children’s room and a library. Finally, the U-shaped floor plan is completed by an unheated space used as a “summer living-room”. Here, as throughout the house, great importance was attached to the view, to deliberately selected visual links and a strong connection to the outside area. Both in front of the house and in the courtyard there are areas defined by boardwalks for various activities outdoors, another of the owners’ particular wishes. Inside, colours and forms are restrained, in order to afford the owners’ collection of art an appropriate background. A few select materials with exquisite feel and suiting the context – lime plaster, larch wood or poured screed – were used and, combined with the flowing impression of space and light, create a sense not of luxury, but atmosphere.


location: 8342 Gnas – Styria, Austria
planning: hohensinn architektur
project leader: Roland Weißenbeck
team: Karlheinz Boiger, Thomas Haas, Mario Mayrl
site subervision: GRAZT Architektur ZT GmbH, Graz
structural analysis: JR Consult ZT GmbH, Graz / CMB – Constructions Management Bau GmbH, Feldbach
electrical concept: TB für Elektrotechnik – Ogrisek, Graz
building services: ITS Installationstechnik Schober, Straden
usable floor space: ca. 365 m²
start of planning: 06/2005
start of construction: 10/2006
completion: 08/2007