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.
Raiffeisen Forum Mödling in Österreich by x42 Architektur
October 16th, 2015 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: x42 Architektur
In 2011, the Raiffeisen Regional bank Mödling put out a competition with the intention of replacing the regional bank with the ‘Raiffeisen Forum Mödling’- a new, identifying building that went beyond the function of a classic bank. Through this functional mix of service bank, estate agent, travel agent and insurance brokers, with public cafeteria and lounge area, as well as an events room, the idea of the Raiffeisen Forum was implemented as a meeting point for the people of the whole Mödling region.
In the anonymous selection process, it was the work of the young architecture firm x42 Architektur from Vienna, with architect Jell-Paradeiser from Bad Vöslau, that really stood out. The team was eventually also tasked with the interior and furniture design.
The Raiffeisen Forum is situated on the edge of the Mödlinger Old Town, within an area protected by the Mödling council. Their requirement of a subtle facade was met with the idea of a ceramic front. This natural building material – in varying sandy hues, reflecting Mödling’s existing architecture – also underpins the concept of durability and sustainability. The properties of this material allow a homogenous “monocover”over the walls and roof, which gives the building a uniform, compact appearance, as well as balancing the disproportionate ratio of facade to roof required by building regulations.
The forum’s main facade faces the main road, whereas the long west-facing facade infiltrates the narrow Freihofgasse lane, surrounded by free-standing historic buildings. To fit in with the look of the area, made up of small individual units, it was necessary to break up this building’s expanse with extensive glass panels. A gentle backwards tilt in the corner of the main facade leading to Freihofgasse opens up the public space near the main entrance.
The client’s wish, to create a forum for existing and future customers, was fulfilled by a generous, hall-like main room. Depending on the situation, the whole ground floor – from the foyer to the opened event rooms – can be used. The service and advice areas, as well as internal offices, are arranged around this central forum area.
Bridges and mezzanines make public areas and internal processes transparent and encourage communication. Empty spaces and naturally planted living walls create vertical connections between floors.
Waiting areas become entertainment areas, as a raised lounge not only offers an overview, but also a cafe and internet. These areas create a space for informal advice sessions. Almost 11 metres high, the two planted living walls humidify the air and help to cool the building naturally during the summer months.
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