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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Frog Queen in Steiermark, Austria by SPLITTERWERK

 
September 23rd, 2014 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: SPLITTERWERK

The Graz-based design collective SPLITTERWERK was commissioned to design this headquarters building for PRISMA Engineering, a machine and motor technology company also located in Graz. The objective was to design a structure which could house the company’s various research and development programs, and selectively showcase the work to a varied range of often competing clientele. Thus the building design needed to accommodate both high-end testing and presentation without jeopardizing the security and secrecy with which the work is developed.

view from the west, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

view from the west, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

  • Architects: SPLITTERWERK
  • Project: Frog Queen
  • Location: Graz, Steiermark, Austria
  • Photography: Nikolaos Zachariadis, Paul Ott
  • Software used: autocad
  • Project team: Irene Berto, Mark Blaschitz, Erika Brunnermayer, Marius Ellwanger, Hannes Freiszmuth, Johann Grabner, Edith Hemmrich, Ute Himmelberg, Bernhard Kargl, Benjamin Nejedly, Josef Roschitz, Maik Rost, Ingrid Somitsch, Nikolaos Zachariadis
  • Client: PRISMA Engineering Maschinen- und Motorentechnik GmbH, Dipl.-Ing. Ernst Gschweitl
  • Net internal area: 1060 m²
  • Built-up area: BGF. 1400 m²
  • Gross volume: 5535,5 m³

  • Project management: Ingenos ZT GmbH
  • Structural consultant: werkraum zt-gmbh, Peter Bauer, David Lemp
  • Building services consultant: Ing. Rudolf Sonnek GmbH
  • Energy consultant: Dr. Tomberger ZT GesmbH, Hannes Veitsberger
  • Electrical design: Erich Watzke, Moskon & Busz GmbH, Rudolf Busz
  • HVACR design: Guenter Grabner
  • User: PRISMA Engineering Maschinen- und Motorentechnik GmbH
  • Award: World Architecture Festival 2008 (Shortlist), contractworld award 2009
  • Creative: graz award 08
view from east, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

view from east, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

The building form approximates a cube, measuring 18.125 x 18.125 x 17m, wrapped on all four elevations with a pixilated pattern of square panels. From a distance, these panels appear to be painted in a range of ten values of grey tone, together dematerializing the volume of the building against both the trees of the surrounding site and the clouds and sky. Thus the cubic building is at once monumental in its objecthood in the open landscape – scale-less and immaterial – and yet utterly non-iconographic in its overall form.

view from the south, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

view from the south, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

As is characteristic of their work, SPLITTERWERK was interested in developing a play between pictorial image and spatial experience. Working with the effects of dimension, distance, and time, the building’s skin was designed to generate shifting perceptions of the volume and texture. As one approaches the building, the cubic proportions of the volume become apparent, as does the finer grain of surface articulation on each panel, comprised not of a single grey tone but rather a tight grid of abstract pictorial figures. These figures might be interpreted as flowers, speaking to the surrounding fields, or gear wheels, suggestive of the highly secretive work happening inside the building. Each façade panel is itself nearly square, measuring 67 x 71.5-cm, and made of powder-coated aluminum, screen-printed with the various images. Integrated within this field of figures, deployed at the scale of both panel and building, windows and doors are similarly considered such that they essentially disappear within the composition of the façade.

view from south, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

view from south, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

At the interior, individual office spaces are wallpapered with images of the surrounding Eastern Styrian landscape, creating a conceptual tension between the interior of the building envelope (narrative and pictorial) and the visual effects of its exterior panels (abstract and spatial). In this sense, the decorative strategy for both interior and exterior is conceived with certain landscape sensibilities in mind; a visual context which is simultaneously pictorial in its framed references and affective in the atmosphere it produces.

facade detail, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

facade detail, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

atrium, Image Courtesy © Paul Ott

atrium, Image Courtesy © Paul Ott

office x, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

office x, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

office y, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

office y, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

atrium, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

atrium, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

reception, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

reception, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

meeting room, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

meeting room, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

view to the office, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

view to the office, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

atrium, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

atrium, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

atrium roof, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

atrium roof, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

facade detail, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

facade detail, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

facade detail, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

facade detail, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

meeting room detail, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

meeting room detail, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

atrium detail, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

atrium detail, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

atrium surface, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

atrium surface, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

wallpaper detail meeting room, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

wallpaper detail meeting room, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

east interior elevation, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

east interior elevation, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

south  interior elevation, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

south interior elevation, Image Courtesy © Nikolaos Zachariadis

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