Vienna’s allotment gardens have long provided city dwellers in the Austrian capital a welcome opportunity to commune with nature. Small garden lots (approx. 220 m2) on the Schafberg, a hilly green area in Vienna’s West End with beautiful views of the city, are particularly sought after. Since the 1990s, zoning changes have made it possible to construct year-round housing on these lots under restrictive conditions. To retain the green space and garden character of the area as much as possible, construction is limited to two stories plus cellar on an area of 50 m2 per building lot. Furthermore, access to this auto-free zone is granted only to small vehicles for a limited time during construction. The design of a year-round luxury residence on this hillside site required the greatest attention not only to aesthetics but also to space, energy, and time efficiency.
The Schafberg Garden House offers an elegant and supremely “green” solution to the many challenges posed by both zoning regulations and specific site conditions. Designed on split levels facing the southwest and positioned to create private outdoor areas, these eco-friendly houses fit into the hillside seamlessly and make full use of passive house construction techniques, which render conventional heating systems unnecessary. The selection of building materials is largely determined by the requirements of passive house technology as well as zoning restrictions: the extensive use of glass allows for an optimal use of solar energy, materials offer superior insulation values and building elements must be easy to transport and/or dismantle. Large windows, terraces and rooftop terraces expand living areas to include their lovely surroundings. The minimalist design of the interiors, with its subdued color palette and simple yet elegant material selection, lets the view command the scene, further blurring the line between indoors and outdoors.