Nordwesthaus by Carlo Baumschlager and Dietmar Eberle

The Nordwesthaus by Baumschlager Eberle

Hafen Rohner (Rohner Yacht Harbour) has reinvented itself for the future. After the closure and dismantling of their lakeside aggregates business the harbour’s owner, together with the architectural firm of Baumschlager-Eberle, devised a subtle yet surprising new plan. For the past ten years, the design of the harbour has been part of an ongoing evolution as its focus moved from aggregates to a marina for sailboats and motorboats. It has also been a chapter in the history of a family that has been connected with Lake Constance for many generations. The opening of the yacht harbour and the new marina office in 2000 gave the first clear signal of what was to come. A radical re-design of the shoreline followed in 2005, and the Nordwesthaus began construction in 2007.

Fussach is a village in Bregenz, Austria. The marina construction there is not your usual picturesque Austrian landscape, with lots of greenery and traditional wooden buildings etc.. The main building of the marina is a concrete tube. And to reply to that move, the architects designing the meeting point for the users of the facilities came up with a glowing cube.

Teetering on the edge of the water, seemingly ready to fall inside with a big splash, if you try pushing, the glazed panels with a microscopically fine finish that make the outer shell of the building, interact with the supporting concrete elements and leave the contours of the building to shine through them. The contrast between the curved concrete elements with the geometric rectangular shaped panels makes Nordwesthaus stand out. In this way, the maximum amount of light enters the building, creating a game of light and shadows, while the water of the lake is reflected on the glass panels. Thus a «movement»is given to the static construction, making it even lighter.

Compactness and transparency, light and movement – the architecture profits from the features of the port, providing them with a culminating point in the event building. When night falls, the illumination of the building makes it look like a light cube. Now the building is reflected in the dark waters, reversing the effect. The movement is still there, but now in the liquid element.

Carlo Baumschlager and Dietmar Eberle set up their architectural partnership in 1985. Key aspects of sustainability were incorporated into their planning work at a very early stage; economy, resource conservation and social acceptance evolved into fundamental principles. Internationally Baumschlager Eberle gained recognition and acclaim for such projects as the headquarters of the Munich Reinsurance Company and the new airport terminal building in Vienna.



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