Aiola on Schlossberg

Tectonics. Based on the topographic lines of the city wall and the accessible facilities, the spatial positioning is clearly determined. The building, on the one hand, takes up the direction of the defensive wall to the east and emphasizes its importance. On the other hand, the axis of the road Dr.-Karl-Böhm-Allee blends with the building. An object is created that integrates the exterior circumstances and thus establishes a new definition on this plane. The aspect of having a view of Graz while almost floating is achieved through level compensation. This 270-degree panorama provides the basis for the newly created space, both inside and outside of the building. The lightness of the site and also the overview—in the most basic sense of the word—form the point of departure for the building’s arrangement. The public areas are designed in such a way that their transitions into the landscape are characterized by transparency and flexibility. By contrast, there is a large body of rock to the north. The building has been landscaped to the greatest extent possible: reeds, ivy, and Virginia creepers grow along the rocks, while lichens and other low-growing greens cover the surface of the roof.
Concept. The Schlossberg, made of limestone and providing immediate elevation at the center of Graz (European Capital of Culture 2003), is a spatial and landscape feature. Situating a structural object in an atmosphere which has been shaped by history and landscape, and which is meant to assume public functions, can thus only be understood as a sensory reaction to the existing site. City walls, changes in elevation, and original vegetation, together with new interventions at times, all impact the overall picture. During the process of enabling vertical access to the Schlossberg by way of an elevator, the former plant nursery was turned into a transit area for visitors. Through the circumvallation of the area, partially by the city walls made of limestone and brick and also by fluctuations in height, the area is still able to retain its protective quality with a view. An island surrounded by incredible vistas of Graz and typical vegetation gives rise to a place to linger, enhanced by an appropriate gastronomic establishment.
Function. Arising from the topographical situation described above is the functional concept. To the south there is the flexible dining area, which at the top is delimited by a ceiling resting on six pillars. The visitors are set in relation to the surrounding space and the focus here is on sight lines to the cityscape. The building, which is open on three sides with its adjoining terrace landscape, provides ideal lighting for interior and exterior space throughout the entire day. The five-meter-long bar with posterior bar wall has a view of everything going on inside and outside. The quality of this dining area is essentially determined by its spatial flexibility. The open structural element of the café, which has a delicate look, is equipped with vertically moving descender fronts which make it possible to translate interior space into canopied outside space and simultaneously to provide access to the open area or terrace. Additional unity is ensured through furnishings that are the same both inside and out. The larchwood terrace, which is 195 m2 large and designed to accommodate around 110 visitors, blends into the café (94 m2) to create a utilizable area of 289 m2 total, thus offering room for max. 160 seated persons.

Year 2002–2003
Address Schlossberg 2, 8010 Graz
ClientMagistrat Graz Liegenschaftsverwaltung, Immorent Süd
In cooperation withfrank, rieper.
AssistanceJörg Spöttl, Christina Magerl
Type Architektur, Gastro
MVD Christine Schmauszer, Jakob Lindner, Michael Rieper, Siegfried Frank