Phillip's Haus Vienna, an uncompromising iconic building that has outlived its useful life as offices, with its deep floor plates unsuited to contemporary workplaces, was a perfect brief for Archer Humphryes Architects to create innovative apartments. “It’s exactly flawless, a 1960s building, cantilevering dramatically on top of a hill on the outskirts of Vienna, Philips Haus is a 1960s classic. Designed by the heroic Austrian modernist architect Karl Schwanzer the 11 storey office building is a landmark well known to anyone approaching the city from the south”. Now the building is to be a pioneer again by bringing a radical new housing concept to the city with fully furnished micro apartments and a social community that will define the new quarter of the city.
Ground floor will be a ‘neighbourhood restaurant’ and bar. Top floor will be the opportunity to create a new lobby with the vibe of a chic destination, a swimming pool and observation area. Simple circulation, intelligent planning and beautifully curated furniture is the approach Archer Humphryes has taken by creating 16 apartments on each of the 11 residential floors including five different apartment types. Their design adds some curvaceous interior forms to take away from the rigidity of the horizontal expressed orthogonal grid of the ‘brutalist’ post war architecture. They are pleased to be able to re-license original Schwanzer furniture from the 1960s and utilise the pieces within the project, with a new design twist to make them contemporary for todays world and choreographed with contemporary classic furniture in some apartments.
Archer Humphryes’ hotel design experience lends itself to the quality and experience of the buildings spirit. The design therefore needed to have an energetic vibe akin to that found in boutique hotel lobbies in order to attract people who want to give the notion that they are ‘hanging-out’ rather than ‘solo’ living, or for families and couples who want to be surrounded by likeminded individuals. An additional challenge was for the apartments to reflect lifestyles by blending work, play, dining, shopping, sleeping with the buzz of human connection, social interaction, and privacy. Recently completing Chiltern Firehouse in London, Sans Souci in Wien and Level 24 in the Shard in London, the architects know how to develop a design that will lead Vienna into ‘state of the art’ apartment high-rise living.
With a 1960’s heritage there was multiple reference points to think about as a starting point, from ‘pop’, to ‘space odyssey’ and cool movies in Black and White and Technicolor. In the design it was important to understand what Schwanzer had intended and to respect that, whilst at the same time bringing 21st century living principles generating a modern narrative to the brief that is not redolent of the 60’s. The design is deliberately non- retro, aspiring to future standards, not apologetic to the past which will define the projects success as a new place to go.