The demolition of two railway stations in Vienna, one in the south and the other in the east of the city, plus the construction of a new central station have combined to liberate an area in the centre that adjoins very different urban situations. On one side, there is a part of the city dominated by greenery and art, including the Swiss Garden, the contemporary art museum - Belvedere 21, the Belvedere Park and the Arsenal. While, on the other, there is the new Central Station with its mass of railway lines, and a high-density urban landscape full of busy roads and a mishmash of architectural styles and functions.
In 2008, for this in-between area, the Renzo Piano Building Workshop was commissioned to design a hotel and residential complex.
At first glance, the end result looks like a compact building project, but it is really divided into five, individual vertical structures, each of which has a polygonal shape and is balanced on tall, slim stilts. What makes this complex stand out is that when seen from street level, these structures seem to start at a height of about four to six metres above the ground. The space underneath is dedicated partly to parkland that acts as a kind of extension to the nearby Swiss Garden.
To emphasize this light-as-air effect, the soffits of the main entrances to the residential towers are designed in three dimensions and lit by Woody and MiniWoody spotlights with different powers and optics to meet a range of different height and surface requirements. These luminaires are fitted with soft-focus filters to highlight the plasticity of the soffits, and anti-glare strips to guarantee visual comfort. They are also all extremely compact.
In the main entrance to the Hotel Andaz, Palco InOut projectors discreetly light the ceiling of the portico, the side entrance to the Eugen 27 restaurant and the façades of the conference hall, ensuring that the style is consistent in this part of the complex too.
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