A multi-generational home in Eichgraben, Lower Austria
Family home extended
It was the birth of their first daughter that sparked this young family’s wish to have a house of their own in green surroundings. In the Vienna Woods they found a somewhat run-down small house with a large garden. Before buying it, they looked at the possibilities of extending the house at a later stage. The tight budget meant that the owners had to do much of the initial renovation and thermal retrofit work themselves. By the time this had been completed their second child had arrived and ideas about an extension became more concrete. The grandmother’s wish for her own granny-flat also had to be taken into account.
The house has been planned as a home for multiple generations from the get-go. Grandma, parents and children all live under one roof – almost an anomaly in this day and age.
The building regulations allowed little room for manoeuvre as regards density and building height. To accommodate the entire program of spaces an additional two-storey building was clearly needed.
Many generations, many uses
The granny flat on the ground floor of the new building is partly embedded in the ground and receives light through a band of glazing that follows the line of the terrain. A free-standing core housing the bathroom and WC divides the open space into a living and a sleeping area. The design also allows for the later conversion of this space into a small doctor’s surgery.
In installing the building services, provision was made for creating up to four single rooms out of this space at a later stage.
In place of a tree house that once stood here, a wooden box now appears to float above the sunken ground floor. The children (who now number three) enthusiastically use this space as a large, 3.5-metre-high playroom with a climbing frame, a swing and a football goal. In installing the building services, provision was made for creating up to four single rooms out of this space at a later stage.
Floating wooden box
The ground floor along with the cantilevered floor slab is built of in situ concrete. The wooden box is made of solid timber panels and all sides, including the roof and soffit, are clad with larch boards that run on the diagonal. On account of the complex geometry and the difficult double mitre of these grey glazed boards, members of the architects’ team helped the clients with mounting them. The boards are the definitive design element: not just on the exterior of the building but also as the ceiling lining in the granny flat and the wall cladding in the glass joint between the old and new buildings.
The architects helped leveling and mounting the larch boards with their own hands.
In times of high divorce rates and an increasing number of one-person households and single parents this project offers a fine example of how contemporary architecture can create a building where three generations live together. The different atmospheres of the rooms on the various levels of the old and new buildings help meet the changing needs of the residents (now seven) for areas where they can be together and spaces they can withdraw to.
A large tree house with a rabbit hutch that was erected in the garden is the last extension – for the time being.
Type of commission
Scope of commission
Generalplanung und ÖBA
Niederösterreichischer Holzbaupreis 2012,
ETHOUSE Award 2012,
Das beste Haus in Niederösterreich 2013, Nominierung,
Vorbildlicher Bau in Niederösterreich 2013,
geplant+ausgeführt Internationale Handwerksmesse 2014, Nominierun
Net usable floor area
Gross floor area
Wolfgang Fischer, Joseph Suntinger, Christian Szalay
ZT Büro DI Stefan Moser