hertl architekten: aichinger house
hertl architekten: aichinger house hertl architekten: aichinger house
jan 11, 2011

hertl architekten: aichinger house

‘aichinger house’ by hertl architekten in kronstorf, austria all images courtesy hertl architekten image © kurt hoerbst

austrian practice hertl architekten has sent us images of ‘aichinger house’, a multi-storey apartment building consisting of two flats in kronstorf. the structure, which once housed a restaurant, is treated to a textile skin which lends the building a light, curtain effect. by applying a material which is normally reserved for the indoors, the project explores the flexibility of facades and skins.

elevation image © kurt hoerbst

appearing almost metallic from a distance, the design wraps the whole exterior of the building in the light grey fabric, rendering the layout and form of the interior hidden from the outside viewer. partings in the facade correspond with the windows to allow daylight into the apartments. much like regular indoor curtains, the skin can be drawn closed to provide shade and diffusion of light.

during the night, the fabric provides a paper lantern effect, distributing the glow from the building to the exterior.

exterior view image © kurt hoerbst

(left) side entrance (right) detail of curtain facade images © kurt hoerbst

fabric pulled back in front of a window image © kurt hoerbst

interior views images © kurt hoerbst

during the evening image © kurt hoerbst

in context image © kurt hoerbst

site plan

floor plan


  • Hmm, why not going a bit further? The basic idea is nice, but could be more innovative! What if the outer curtain would change its distance to the façade? What if there were courtyards behind closed curtains. What if you arrange functions behind closed curtains they need privacy (bathroom e.g.) and bring openings (and light) in the second layer?

    It could be more than this shown here…
    Spacially this project has only another layer around an ordinary cube. And the interior picture aren’t charming at all.
    (This is something that could have been tested in a small model/ mock up! Architects, get up and verify your ideas!)

    What makes good architecture? Exploiting the potentials of an idea!

    Exploiting potentials says:
  • I quite like it. It is extremely challenging to the normal lines of though. I just have one question, if somebody could help me with it…

    What is the actual fabric? Is it something that is weather proof? And how would one keep it clean? Would love to know, I would unashamedly use the material concept in smaller scale if it is practical.

    DJ says:
  • Very refreshing to see an innovative and new idea for once!

    More projects that challenge conventions such as this.

    modern math says:
  • wow!

    megi says:
  • Christo and Jeanne Claude’s work meets BMW’s cloth concept car. Nice

    Eljonay says:
  • what’s the point in hiding the facade? the architect don’t like it, the owners don’t like it? Someone explains me the concept of hiding a facade and why is it that original…
    By the way, the fabric has to be weather proof, otherwise i don’t see how those sheets can protect the house…

    hidden facade says:
  • Won’t these curtains become quite dirty after a short time?

    Joseph says:
  • attempting to extend the distance from the facade with the fabric would be intersting indeed but it would also deny one of the basic concepts here, ie: the fabric as a skin drawn taut across the rectilinear form

    interesting constrast to herr van lieshout’s approach to defacement of a rectilinear form

    dbkii says:
  • when i studied architecture, it was clear for me that the facade was the logical consequence of the spaces created/arranged/modulated/deformed in and around the artifact that we call ‘the building’, and still is…, so, what’s the value of this project when even reading the article the only thing worth mentioning are the curtains that cover the building?

    hidden facade says:
  • the curtains are the façade, no ?

    pass says:
  • I’m an interior designer. I spent 5 years studing design at University.
    I think this project is very original and very clever.
    Maybe it’s not functional but the concept of interior sight becomes the exterior of the building it’s amusing and poetic.

    websnail says:
  • provocative

    barry says:
  • i think it’s odd that the curtains don’t feature in either plans or sections — it reinforces my feeling that they haven’t been fully integrated into the architecture but are really a facade idea only, a bit like a flexible rainscreen.

    bill says:
  • very nice, but the curtains should be openable/closable. now its half-way to perfect.

    tooma says:
  • @tooma
    they ARE openable/closable.

    fischinger says:
  • very my taste ! very nice !

    SEOULISH says:
  • seem interessing at first, but it is just contemporatary abstracted, then the curtains can not work out it function for the facde, and it is bring up the constrains to open the doors, windows, . no?????

    Thuy Duong says:
  • cool idea, a misunderstanding between in and out… the only question is: why shall we need the curtains also inside the windows (as shown e.g. in picture 6, “fabric pulled back in front of a window”)? It declares that curtains outside are not functional…?

    matitina says:
  • Personally I don’t see the point for placing these curtains all around the building. I mean… If they were meant to be an outer skin… they should have a specific function ALL AROUND the building. Solar control or something. The whole building is solid and it’s only controlling how light enters in specific regions, as are windows. I like the idea very much! but i think that making the whole building a glass box would have reinforced the concept and function of the whole thing. As it is, i think of it as a designer’s whim

    Toski says:
  • Personally, I think the place looks like it’s being fumigated for pests.

    msmith says:
  • And the outside curtains are very much functional. You can see that they’re being spread apart by hooks. If one released the curtains from the hook, they could easily draw them in over the windows.

    msmith says:
  • Poor washing machine..

    L. says:
  • @fischinger
    I meant that you should be able to open/close them from the inside of the house. Now it looks like you have to go outside if you want to close them.

    Anyways, very cool!

    tooma says:
  • I like the idea but it seems like it would attract all sort of insects behind the curtain.

    bizoune says:
  • it reminds me this project at AA Architectural Association for the Interprofessional Studio:

    jollycembalo says:

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