Conversion of the Palais Rasumofsky in Vienna
Text: Florian Maier
The palais was built for Andrei Kirillowitsch Duke Rasumofsky, the former Russian ambassador under Czar Alexander during the time of the Viennese Congress of 1806. The central building was damaged during World War II and poorly repaired and maintained during the post-war period, leading to significant problems. The building is listed as a historical building and, therefore, careful reconstruction and analysis of new strategies was conducted in order to enhance the overall building structure.
Location: Rasumofskygasse 23, 1030 Vienna, Austria
Architects: Baar-Baarenfels Architekten
All inauthentic elements, such as the roof, stairs, and interior wall modifications were demolished and a new vertical circulation scheme was developed with the addition of an underground parking structure and support spaces.
The new aluminium roof envelope is supported by a steel truss system articulated by a series of Vierendeel trusses in alignment with the existing building. The penthouse apartment is surrounded by terraces and incorporates vertical full height glazing allowing a transparency with integrated sun protection fins to provide solar control. The roof sun protection, made from extruded aluminium fins, provides shading and framing , of exterior views.
The ground floor is primarily a 6 meter high art gallery space with two larger spaces connected by the insertion of a new second level gallery space spanned between two free-standing angled concrete slabs.
The newly created reinforced organic concrete staircase is sleek in appearance due to the tapered structural form. A series of 3D milled moulds were used to create the complex free form geometry and providing an elegance to the vertical form without a physical connection to the wall support adding a lightness to the structural shape through light and shadow articulation.
The 13.7m main elevator shaft is encased with self-supporting glass panels with an angled jointed steel plates to increase an overall lightness and transparency. The interior cabin is black glass on three sides and a glass ceiling to enhance the vertical experience connecting the existing historic spaces with the contemporary rooftop spaces overlooking the central park and adjacent buildings.
The judges said: ‘This, quite possibly, is a once in a lifetime opportunity to influence a 200-year-old building with great historical significance. The architect demonstrated through his actions the resolution of a paradox: the boldness of a design concept that in expression was delicate and articulate.’
More photos and drafts in the gallery
The other winners at the 2013 World Architecture Festival
- Civic and Community - Women's Opportunity Centre (Rwanda), Sharon Davis Design
- Villa - Namly House (Singapore), CHANG Architects
- Health - Rush University Medical Center New Hospital Tower (Chicago), Perkins+Will
- Production/Energy/Recycling - A Simple Factory Building (Singapore), Pencil Office
- Hotel/Leisure - Citizen M London Bankside (UK), Concrete
- Sport - Splashpoint Leisure Centre (UK), Wilkinson Eyre Architects
- New and Old - Conversion of the Palais Rasumofsky (Austria), Baar-Baarenfels Architekten
- Transport - Sydney Cruise Terminal (Australia), Johnson Pilton Walker Architects
- Culture and World Building of the Year - Aukland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki (New Zealand), Frances-Jones Morehen Thorp and Archimedia
- Future Projects Education - The Urban School In Elsinore (Denmark), EFFEKT, Rubow
- Future Projects Competition Entries - National Maritime Museum of China (China), Cox Rayner Architects
- Future Projects Residential - Siamese Blossom (Thailand), Somdoon Architects Ltd
- Future Projects Experimental - White Collar Factory (UK), Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
- Completed Building House - The Left-Over-Space House (Australia), Cox Rayner Architects, Casey and Rebekah Vallance
- Completed Building Housing - 28th Street Apartments (USA), Koning Eizenberg Architecture
- Completed Building Office - Statoil Regional and International offices (Norway) A-Lab
- Completed Building Higher Education and Research - University of Exeter: Forum Project (UK), Wilkinson Eyre Architects
- Completed Building Display - The Blue Planet (Denmark), 3XN
- Completed Building Religion - Sancaklar Mosque (Turkey), EAA - Emre Arolat Architects
- Completed Building Schools - Fontys Sports College (Netherlands) Mecanoo International
- Completed Building Shopping - Emporia (Sweden), Wingardh Arkitektkontor
- Future Projects Health - New Sulaibikhat Medical Center (Kuwait) AGi Architects
- Future Projects House - Meditation House (Lebanon), MZ Architects
- Future Projects Commercial Mixed Use - New Office in Central London (UK), Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
- Future Projects Office - Selcuk Ecza Headquarters (Turkey), Tabanlioglu Architects
- Future Projects Leisure-Led Development - Singapore Sports Hub (Singapore), Singapore Sports Hub Design Team (Arup Associates + DP Architects + AECOM)
- Future Projects Masterplanning - Earls Court Masterplan (UK) Farrells
- Future Projects Infrastructure - Brisbane Ferry Terminals Post-Flood Recovery (Australia), Cox Rayner Architects