An apartment complex by Gerner Gerner plus emulates butterflies in a park

Butterfly Houses by Gerner Gerner plus. Photo Matthias Raiger

VIENNA – Five residential buildings land in Vienna on Hohe Warte, where the architects of Gerner Gerner plus describe it as ‘brimstone butterflies in a paradise garden’ - a feather-light impression in the midst of a large park.

The complex consists of 23 flats varying from 110 to 260 sq-m with generous balconies and terraces. Gerda Maria Gerner, name partner at the firm, believes that the ‘plans should be very flexible so that the individual residents can design them just as they like – a criterion that intelligent architecture must fulfil.’ Qualified as a luxury residence, the complex offers a concierge service, a lounge area and an event facility for hire.

Following an Olmsted-esque approach to its landscape, the park remains natural with great care given to the existing trees and winding paths. The buildings are scattered amongst the mature trees in a way that they never confront each other and gives the illusion that they are landing naturally to admire a shared garden. An entirely pedestrian lot, the cars are tucked away in a subterranean parking lot.  

In plan, four of the residential buildings – although each is personalised - follow a general format of a central circulation core sandwiched between two wings that spread outward to create a pocket in the terrace on the ground floor. The wings all face towards the park – an introverted architecture that focuses on the gardens rather than what is available outside of its gates. The horizontal expression of the residential buildings and its minimal cladding choices gives an early modernist feel to the entire complex.

The concrete frame construction is complemented by white brick. The curved edges and movement of its façades is what gives it its name – Butterfly Houses – as it looks as though the balconies are like fluttering wings. With the depth of the exterior spaces and terraces, it emphasizes this imagery. The residential complex also has key sustainability features. It is exclusively heated with geothermal energy and e-car charging stations are available in the parking to show clear commitment to being eco-friendly.


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