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A Passive Prefab in Vienna Doesn't Sacrifice Space or Style

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All photos and images by Matevž Paternoster
All photos and images by Matevž Paternoster

When a home's description includes the words prefab and passive, it's assumed that design may take a backseat to the more practical concerns of a mass-produced and energy-efficient dwelling. A team of Slovenian architects from the firm SoNo challenged that preconception with the Musterhaus, a 180-square-meter (1,937-square-foot) attempt at a modern and functional family home. Built for the Austrian office of Lumar IG, a Slovenian home manufacturer and previous client for whom the firm developed the slatted BlackLine model, this passive prefab was made to stand out from its neighbors. That was an especially tall order, considering the building would rest within the FertigHausZentrum, a show park for prefab construction. While a thermally insulated foundation, triple-glazed windows, and advanced ventilation and shading systems help keep the heating costs of the Musterhaus to a minimum, its the functional layout that allowed the designers to maximize the space while maintaining efficency standards.

The concept, two differently shaped volumes stacked and then shifted to offer overhangs and shading, creates an open floor plan with a gallery space at its core. The home's positioning at the street corner exposes a double-height living room window that breaks up the paneled façade and provides a view of the interior, finished mostly in wood. The kitchen opens up to a terrace shaded by the upper floor, which offers privacy despite the airy interior. The rotated structure, while still replicable, adds personality to what's often seen as a boxy building type.

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