VIENNA – More than a decade has passed since French architect Dominique Perrault’s design for a residential and office high-rise in Donau City – a mixed-use urban area located within the fastest-growing business district north of Vienna – was selected as the winning entry of a competition overseen by a local corporate development group. The DC Tower 1 has officially reached completion and now stands proud as the tallest building in Austria.
Perrault’s conspicuous enthusiasm for the potential of the strategically-located site he was given – a wide-open terrain which stretches along the northern bank of the Danube – gave rise to a project that ties itself to the natural and built environment of the surroundings, and conveniently frames ground-level public spaces that infuse and structure daily life along the riverfront.
The building resembles a large monolith that has been split into two unevenly-sized halves, spanning an arched-shaped opening. The building displays a formal and visual balance as it reconciles the static nature of horizontal volumes with dynamic vertical lines. It has sharp, angular all-glass façades, all treated in a similar fashion so as to erect a structure which has no front or back and maintains a continuous panoramic dialogue with the city. The massing arrangement shapes a highly-distinctive dancing silhouette which dramatically redefines Vienna DC’s skyline and inevitably translates the region’s strong economic growth.
The building’s interior is both functional and welcoming. The approach to its design is simple, straightforward and favours an honest expression of materials and tectonics. Through a skillful manipulation of proportion and texture, the architect manages to break down the project’s considerable scale so as to make it possible, for users, to grasp and relate to a reassuring tactile experience.
As a result of a sustained effort to come up with site-specific design solutions, Perrault’s latest completed project is heavily embedded in its context. Though it doesn’t impose a boastful statement to the cityscape, it bears a unique architectural signature which certainly does not shy away from provocation and potential controversy.
Photos Michael Nagl