Seewalchen/Wiener Neustadt (Austria), March 08, 2022 – With its turquoise waters, Lake Attersee in Upper Austria’s Salzkammergut region has been attracting people ever since. This can be seen in Neolithic lake dwellings, Celtic-Roman villa complexes as well as peasant settlements from the Middle Ages and mansions from the 18th and 19th centuries. At that time, artists such as Gustav Klimt and Gustav Mahler also discovered the charm of the landscape at the foot of the alpine Höllengebirge as a source of inspiration for their art and music.
For a long time, building contractor Norbert Hartl had been dreaming of a house on the lake. Finally, he found the perfect place: Directly on the lakeside promenade in Seewalchen, with a breathtaking panoramic view. In order to develop the best possible solution in this exposed location in harmony with the community, an architectural contest was announced. The proposal by F2 Architects impressed with its classic modern design language. The cubic building core with light elements emphasizing the horizontal, stood out for its timeless aesthetic elegance.
High-tech in a classic modern style
“Our ambition is to interpret the style of the old masters with the latest technologies. We want to create buildings of which we can say: 40 years ago, we would have done it like this, today, and in 40 years as well – only perhaps with different means,” says architect Christian Frömel. “In this project, we were very fortunate to have a client with a deep affinity for architecture, who, with great craftsmanship, attention to detail and courageous decisions, enabled us to discover a new material for us: Dekton.”
“Dekton consists of up to 20 natural minerals that are compressed under 25,000 tons of pressure and sintered at 1200° Celsius,” explains Oliver Reiter, General Manager of Cosentino Austria. “We replicate the metamorphic processes, which can take millions of years in the natural formation of stone, at an accelerated rate under controlled conditions. This creates an ultra-compact surface for the world of architecture and design with outstanding technical and design advantages.”
All-rounder in the hands of generalists
The completely inorganic product is color and UV stable and available in over 50 designs. Ultra-compact, non-porous and therefore frost and stain resistant, Dekton can be used indoors as well as outdoors. The panels, which measure 320 cm x 144 cm, are manufactured in thicknesses of 0.4 cm, 0.8 cm, 1.2 cm, 2 cm and 3 cm. “This versatility allowed us to reduce the number of surfaces used to a minimum: Wood, plaster, glass and Dekton,” says architect Christian Frömel. “The ventilated curtain wall and the balustrades, the stair treads, the floors of the terraces and the interiors, as well as the fireplace furniture and the kitchen island were all clad with Dekton.”
The sand-colored Danae shade was chosen for the building core and all floor surfaces. Horizontal elements such as the parapets were made in bright white Dekton Zenith. Except for the interior design, the project was implemented entirely by Schmid Baugruppe. “As a total contractor, we supply all crafts from a single source – from planning to execution in structural, wood, metal, facade and roof construction to building lifecycle management,” explains managing partner Norbert Hartl.
Invisible fastening technology
“Building down to the essentials can get very challenging. Here, we pushed ourselves pretty hard technically,” the master builder and engineer with a double master’s degree admits. For the building envelope, principal and architect drew inspiration from the ventilated curtain façade of the Kap West office building in Munich. GIP’s façade specialists helped design the substructure with the thermal bridge-free Schöck Isolink. This was manufactured according to detailed planning by FSP Metalltechnik, a company of the Schmid Baugruppe.
At Cosentino’s headquarters in Cantoria in southern Spain, the 1.2 cm thick Dekton panels were cut to a format of up to 312 cm x 140 cm, provided with precise drill holes and delivered to the construction site ‘just in time’. There, Schmid Dachbau used Keil undercut anchors to hook them onto the agraffes profiles invisibly from the outside and fix them in place. “From the design and technical planning to the cutting and delivery to the installation, the teamwork of all those involved worked very well,” praises Norbert Hartl.
Railing with refined details
Located directly on the busy waterfront promenade, the entire property is enclosed by a parapet strip to shield it from overly prying eyes. The steel railing is clad all around with bright white Dekton Zenith. Vandalism has a hard time here, because unlike aluminum composite panels or natural stone, the easy-care material resists many mechanical stresses, scratches, and chemicals. Even graffiti can be easily removed with standard cleaning agents.
Sheet metal cladding could be dispensed with for the 12 cm wide attica of the parapet, as rainwater is simply drained off to the ground or evaporates via the Dekton surfaces. Although this is an aesthetically pleasing solution, it also has its pitfalls: To accommodate the weight of the structure with its 1.2 cm thick all-round cladding, special hinges had to be made for the doors of the ramp staircase leading to the main entrance at the rear of the house and the “wallpaper door” integrated almost invisibly into the balustrade for quick access from the terrace to the lake.
Smooth transition from inside to outside
The stairs and floors in the house are made of sand-colored Dekton Danae. Wooden floors are only found in the bedrooms on the upper level. While slabs 1.2 cm thick were laid in the living and dining areas, architect Christian Frömel insisted on 3 cm for the terrace. “In dimensions of up to 140 cm x 140 cm, these are a madness to lay, but they were to sit movement-free, firm and stable on the surface drainage.” The continuous tone creates a smooth transition from the inside to the outside.
This impression is further enhanced by a half-height piece of furniture that penetrates the floor-to-ceiling glass front. Inside, it houses a large flat-screen TV and storage space outside. Fireplaces at either end spread cozy warmth between the spacious living and dining areas indoors and outdoors on the terrace. The structure is made of engineered wood and chamotte with an 0.8 cm thin surface of Dekton Danae. Fire cannot harm the heat-resistant material.
The interior design was created by STEININGER, who also realized the kitchen island: a monolithic block as a customized version of the “ROCK” model from their own collection. The base frame is made of engineered wood, the drawer elements of smooth-running aluminum profiles. The high-quality designer kitchen was clad with Dekton Zenith. Only the circular cutouts for operating elements interrupt the white surface. The edges at the junction of the 2 cm slim worktop and the front are finely mitered at a 45° angle to create a seamless connection.
“Aesthetics is function,” says Managing Director Martin Steininger, a convinced minimalist. “The fact that the things we surround ourselves with are perfectly manufactured makes them valuable.” This also expresses the philosophy of the owner of the house. “For this heart project, Dekton really inspired us,” says Norbert Hartl. “The consistent materiality for facades, floors and furniture, the robustness and ease of care and, thirdly, the versatility and precision that makes impressive architectural and design details possible, make this material truly unique.”
Project: Private house, 4863 Seewalchen on Lake Attersee, Austria.
Architect: F2 Architekten ZT GmbH, 4690 Schwanenstadt, Austria
Total contractor: Schmid Baugruppe Holding GmbH, 4873 Frankenburg, Austria
Facade builder: Schmid Dachbau GmbH, 4850 Timelkam, Austria
Facade substructure: FSP Metalltechnik, 4873 Frankenburg, Austria
Dekton®: Cosentino Austria GmbH, 2700 Wiener Neustadt, Austria
Interior Design: STEININGER – steininger.designers gmbh, 4113 St. Martin, Austria