An Austrian Civic Centre Adapts the Village Vernacular

A church spire rises above a cluster of gable roofs. From above and from afar, the view of central Großweikersdorf has remained (almost) unchanged for centuries. But look closer, and the little village north of the Danube River reveals a new kind of space woven into its historic vernacular. Designed by Viennese firm Smartvoll Architects, the municipality’s new city hall, medical office and community centre integrates a diverse range of services into a complex inspired by its residential surroundings.

PHOTO: Romana Fürnkranz

Prominently situated on Großweikersdorf’s main square, the new building meets the public realm with an intimate face. An extruded gable roof frames the wood-clad facade of the city hall, which faces the square. In scale and proportion, Smartvoll’s design riffs on the local context, while the streamlined finishes and elegant blond accents introduce a contemporary — yet complementary — ambiance.

PHOTO: Romana Fürnkranz

Past the municipal chambers, the complex stretches out in a series of articulated volumes, playfully reflecting the varied frontages of surrounding homes. But the shifting volumes are also a practical design feature, accommodating individual entrances — and intimate outdoor spaces — for the building’s medical offices and community centre.

PHOTO: Romana Fürnkranz

Inside, a smooth sequence of spaces subtly delineates the building’s uses. Punctuated by tall windows and soaring skylights, blonde wood cladding stretches across the walls and angled ceilings, fostering a tranquil and aesthetically unified ambiance.

PHOTO: Dimitar Gamizov

Entering from the square, visitors pass a small municipal services office that emerges onto a comfortable seating area. Both a waiting room and an informal event venue — complete with “hangout steps” — the simple space is accented by greenery and green furnishings.

PHOTO: Dimitar Gamizov

Beyond the stairs, similarly pared down rooms are flexibly configured to host meetings, conferences and community events. While the unadorned interiors can flexibly accommodate a wide range of uses, the minimalist design also amplifies the building’s spatial quality, drawing the eye up the vaulted ceilings and across all that wood.

PHOTO: Jörg Seiler

At the back of the complex, meanwhile, medical offices face a quieter residential side of the village, fostering a more discrete, private setting. And flanking the complex, public seating is complemented by new paving and touches of greenery, making for a welcoming space.

PHOTO: Jörg Seiler

For Großweikersdorf, the new civic hub is also intended as a community destination. Combining an attractive space with a diverse and flexible program of services and amenities, the complex is designed to help counteract Austria’s “donut effect,” which sees towns and villages hollowed in favour of more car-centric environments on the urban periphery. It’s a sort of suburbanization in miniature — and a phenomenon artfully and appropriately countered by Smartvoll’s intimate urbanity.

The post An Austrian Civic Centre Adapts the Village Vernacular appeared first on Azure Magazine.

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