Images courtesy of Kurt Hörbst
There are few things more dramatic than a long, heavy curtain with a thick drapery harkening more to the thematic arts than to interior finishes. Taking full advantage of the inherent spectacle provided by such a cloak, Hertl Architekten redefined the curtain as more than just a decorative object by wrapping it around the exterior façade of the Aichinger House.
The Aichinger House in Austria was once a restaurant with two bars that has been reinvented as a two-story apartment building. Converting one of the bars into two flats, removing the existing roof, and adding an external staircase, while not minor changes, seem to pale in comparison to the grey shroud that now covers the building. Providing privacy for the occupants while also deflecting daylight and therefore reducing solar gain, the curtain acts as a multi-functional addition to the more traditional façade.
Adding to the drama provided by a two-story curtain covering the exterior of a building, the Aichinger House becomes a spectacle of dancing geometric patterns as the sun goes down and an ethereal light begins to shine through the drapery. Hertl Architekten explains the thought behind the textile: “A light grey curtain covers the solitaire, the abstract form is disguised by a soft texture. The element, also used for shadowing, can be moved apart the windows. A decorative element, normally used indoor, is building an irritating and at the same time fascinating facade.”