Kitzmueller Architektur: Architecture as an integral concept
At Kitzmüller Architektur, architecture and interior design are considered as an entity, so everything comes from a single source. The latest project, Arlberg 1800, shows how the interplay of exterior and interior design can make a building become a total artwork.
For architect Jürgen Kitzmüller, spatial art is the most natural kind of art. Spatial art, in interaction with natural light, generates a very special feel. Kitzmüller works with materials close to nature, because “this wealth of design variants can only be offered by nature”, as he puts it. Therefore, he is always in search of new materials and new kinds of light art.
Chalet Huvila, St. Anton am Arlberg. © Kitzmüller Architektur
Where culture lovers get their money’s worth
St. Christoph am Arlberg has always been a popular tourism destination for skiers. With the completion of the Contemporary Art and Music Hall, as one part of Kitzmüller’s project Arlberg 1800, the town now also hosts an extraordinary centre for contemporary art. Florian Werner, a hotelier from St. Christoph, discovered his love for art by chance and decided to commission the construction of a cultural centre. The hall particularly distinguishes itself by its exceptional location: it is mainly located underground. Still, because of its clear and appealing interior design, visitors do not feel like walking into a cellar. The cultural centre forms part of the already existing hotel Hospiz am Arlberg. By building the hall, the hotel’s former coach parking bay has been integrated into the project. One can now walk underground from the hotel directly into the Contemporary Art and Music Hall.
Next to the art exhibition space, Kitzmüller has created a stunning concert hall, which is now the highest located concert hall in the Alps (at a height of 1,800 metres above sea level). Through the gently curved, bulbous walls, lined with pale oak wood, visitors feel like being inside a ship’s hold. “The top-class acoustics enjoy great popularity among musicians,” Kitzmüller gladly notices. Artists of international fame, like Chris de Burgh and Art Garfunkel, have already played shows in the concert hall. In general, about 160 concerts will take place there each year, ranging from classical music, jazz and pop to authentic folk music.
Hotel Alpenland’s Spa. © Kitzmüller Architektur
Luxurious, customised residences
After just half a year of planning, Kitzmüller has also implemented the building of two high-class residences, held in the country house-style. Façades made of natural stone on the ground floor, continued by plaster surfaces and scrap wood, and the typical saddle roofs define the residences’ appearances and make them an architectural landmark. They comprise 17 apartments and a room for skis and shoes. Based on their sizes and the personal wishes of the owners, all apartments were individually decorated. Kitzmüller describes the process of creating the country houses: “You are an interior designer and a lighting designer at the same time. The external is merged with the internal: only in this way it can become a synthesis of the arts and only in this way it has worked out.”
The apartments’ sizes range from 90 to 240 square metres. While some of them are dominated by expanse and openness, spanning over a whole floor level and including a huge balcony, or with a ceiling height of up to five metres, other residential units rather exude a cosy and introverted atmosphere. Every apartment is featured with wooden balconies whose floors are surfaced with natural stone.
Boat House Meier, single-family home in Fussach. © Kitzmüller Architektur
The apartments’ interior design could not have a bigger variety. Some of the walls are built in a traditional way with the use of scrap wood, others come along with a modern, smoothed concrete look. In the bathrooms, one can find either natural or artificial stone, be it backlit onyx, Italian marble or granite. Also concerning the textiles used, all possible opportunities were exploited. Every flat has a different concept of colours and materials. With a room height of 2.70 metres, individually designed curtains unfold the particularity of the specific material. The light concepts are matched with the overall ambiance of each flat. In summary, Kitzmüller states: “The apartments are designed in a straightforward, modern way.”
Further projects are already ready and waiting, for example, the construction of a new skiing service building in Lech. As with the project Arlberg 1800, a great deal will be built underground. “The interior furnishing will resemble an upscale hotel,” Kitzmüller says. Besides this, he will keep on focusing on hotel and restaurant projects.
TEXT: INA FRANK
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