On The Rocks Architecture requires the analysis of both surrounding and owner. This can lead to spectacular results – like in Kaprun. In this Austrian tourist town with its 3,000 inhabitants the Brndl Group flagship store was developed and realized by the German and India based company for architecture and design, Blocher Blocher Partners. The building is a landmark putting an exclamation mark at the unique business concept. There it is – in the middle of the alpine idyll – rather an object than a building. No visible storeys. An edgy entity. The corpus is like a wedge driven between hotels and garnis. Bizarre peaks erect into the sky. Metal lamellae vs. turned-wood railings. Behind the grey hull you find a retail shop different from others. Retail is permanent pursuit of contact and dialogue. Insofar this wedge has something playful. A shift of ones perspective shifts the entire image. Now the perforated sheets seem closed, and then they seem permeable. The spectator becomes an integrated protagonist in the event. The way of light and shadow during the day characterizes the image. For owner Christoph Brndl it is all about identity and corporate structure. His customers are people who want to leave every-day-life behind for a while, enjoy their holiday and find a rest. “What is the message of my building” – this was the question at the beginning. It was his desire to not only link shopping and adventure, but to create a place for communication. The buildings are slightly staggered and thus correspond perfectly well with the site. Almost in the center you find the main entrance in an interstice of glass. Shaped like a crevasse it goes through the concrete hull. Inside nature remains immediately tangible. By means of the broken up roof and the view outside the artificially created landscape of the shopping world picks up the thread of the real landscape. Gazes can wander up to Kitzsteinhorn Mountain. “To us the view outside up to the very particular mountain scenery and Kaprun River is a very special aspect” says the building owner. During night time light installations breathe life into the building. “It is as if the building breathes” explains Brndl the feeling. The main entrance directly leads to the flight of steps and at once customers get a glance at the four shopping storeys of the seven-storeyed building. The stiffening beam structure repeats the style of the sloping stairs and is based on diagonals resulting in triangles and rhombi. A second entrance leads directly to the second floor with its panoramic glass front via a ramp-like flight of stairs. This has a double effect: an improved frequency of the shopping storeys plus an additional opportunity for communication. There is media sound throughout the entire house and the flight of stairs can be filled with sound from the inside – and there is a fireplace. Architecture creates an atmosphere here which makes the company charm the spectator. It makes him or her deal with the house. The interior design repeats this methodology and interprets the geometry of the facade. Oblique lamellae and window flights connect interior with exterior despite the apparently floating panels above the windows. The rooms structure finds hold in a core of granite stretching across all storeys. Behind you find the emergency stairs, cabins and the storeroom. The new Brndl – for a mountain village a very daring, polarizing and urban architecture partially provoking the typical lederhosen setting says the owner.
Project Status: Built
Nikolaus-Gassner-Strae 4, Kaprun, 5710, Austria
- Team: Blocher Blocher Partners