A stable process makes everything clear for the two friends from Smartvoll Architekten
“We are always trying to look to find something new
to create new spaces, to…” – Christian Kircher
“To surprise people.” – Phillip Buxbaum
Standing in the midst of Loft Panzerhalle located in an industrial neighbourhood of Salzburg, it becomes very clear that Christian Kircher and Phillip Buxbaum of Vienna’s Smartvoll Architekten, have a partnership based equally on a common vision and (perhaps most importantly) friendship. They regularly finish each other’s sentences.
It makes sense. They met in school more than 15 years ago. After collaborating intensely on a two-month student project, the two architects bonded over something a little less demanding – video games!
“The most interesting part of our work is always to find
something new. A new solution.” – Christian
When Phillip was offered the chance to work on a real project, he contacted Christian to help. Their careers took off after that. Though learning everything the hard way and on-the-job isn’t something they would recommend for every new architect, it did work out for them. Phillip and Christian adhere to a strict and stable process that is entirely of their own making.
“Most of the time we question everything.” – Phillip
Get the briefing, question everything, do the research, select only one direction and then execute with speed. That is how Smartvoll Architekten works. They do what’s best for the project, every time. As such, clients can expect the unexpected at concept presentations (and either love, or hate, the results). If the client comes back the next day, the project was meant to be and will take off quickly. It’s the beauty of their computer-based design methods.
“It should be very natural. There should be no barriers,
which forces the people to go that way.” – Phillip
In many ways, the Panzerhalle Loft is representative of much of their work. By creating architectural features in wide-open areas, intimate and very liveable spaces are formed for people to communicate, work and play. The kitchen of the Panzerhalle Loft for example, is cocooned within a sinuous, underlit concrete staircase, which leads to the loft’s two terraces.
“When we design a kitchen we’re not really thinking about the kitchen.
We are more thinking about the connection the kitchen has
to the rest of the spatial program.” – Phillip
Composed of a singular black block, the Panzerhalle Loft kitchen stretches impressively from one end of the space to the other. Complementing the, “50 shades of grey,” in the concrete loft, it is made of materials that match its industrial surroundings, like lava stone and steel. In a nod to more luxuriant living the high-gloss worktop reflects the one-of-a-kind staircase and Salzburg’s mountain scenery.
“I think the user should have the freedom to
explore freely around the kitchen
and use it how they like.” – Phillip
Though they may be completely committed to their process, Christian and Phillip create kitchen interiors that are remarkably casual and relaxed. Their kitchens give home dwellers freedom. Everything – appliances, fixtures, dining area – are all enclosed in the unit. The rest of the kitchen space however, is up for grabs.
Both the kitchen and the architects are open to however people wish to live.
“This moment where everything fits together,
this moment where we stand in the office…” – Christian
“We get a little proud.” – Phillip