Concrete tower by Bechter Zaffignani houses a control centre for an Austrian power station

A block appears to have been pushed out from the middle of this concrete tower by Bechter Zaffignani Architekten, which accommodates a control centre for a power station in western Austria (+ slideshow).

Tiwag Power Station Control Center by Bechter Zaffignani Architekten

Austrian office Bechter Zaffignani Architekten designed the control centre for the Tiwag Power Station in the Tyrollean municipality of Silz.

It is one of a trio of structures, including an old turbine building and a new visitor centre, that rise over a grassy knoll at the foot of a densely forested mountain.

Tiwag Power Station Control Center by Bechter Zaffignani Architekten

A faint grid is visible across the side walls of the eight-storey concrete structure, revealing traces of the construction process. At the front and back, sections of the building project and recede, giving the impression that they have been pushed back and forth.

Tiwag Power Station Control Center by Bechter Zaffignani Architekten

"The idea behind the control centre is based on stacking the individual functions vertically, with each functional unit organised on a separate floor level," said the architects, who explained that both the proportions and orientation were designed to reference the form of the nearby turbine building.

Tiwag Power Station Control Center by Bechter Zaffignani Architekten

"This clear hierarchy simplifies the administration of the access and security areas and allows a linear networking of the infrastructure."

Tiwag Power Station Control Center by Bechter Zaffignani Architekten

The main control room is located in a double-height space that runs across the third and fourth floors of the tower block.

The extra headroom, combined with extensions to the north and south facades, provides the necessary width for the machinery and accounts for the protrusions and recesses in the structure's profile.

Tiwag Power Station Control Center by Bechter Zaffignani Architekten

Glazing is set into long, narrow slits in these two protruding slabs – which also provide structural support for the building – while the two side walls are windowless to prevent glare in the office spaces.

Tiwag Power Station Control Center by Bechter Zaffignani Architekten

Iron oxide pigment was added to the concrete to give the exposed surfaces a brown colouring designed to reference the "dynamic components of the generation of power", which include pressure pipe lines, turbines and transformers.

Tiwag Power Station Control Center by Bechter Zaffignani Architekten

The building sits on a one-metre-thick foundation slab, anchored by tension piles that are equipped to deal with the force of water used to generate power, and the eventuality of an earthquake. A water well provides the energy for both the power station's heat pump and cooling plant.

Tiwag Power Station Control Center by Bechter Zaffignani Architekten

"Concrete is the ideal material for providing sufficient resistance to the enormous force of water used to generate energy," said the architects. "Like no other material it conveys a sense of security and longevity."

Tiwag Power Station Control Center by Bechter Zaffignani Architekten

The visitor centre is housed in a slim, elongated building partially submerged into the slope. Full-height glazing faces the road on the northern facade, while clerestory windows on the southern side allow occupants to look out towards the power station.

Tiwag Power Station Control Center by Bechter Zaffignani Architekten

Photography is by Rasmus Norlander.

Tiwag Power Station Control Center by Bechter Zaffignani Architekten
Level four plan – click for larger image
Tiwag Power Station Control Center by Bechter Zaffignani Architekten
Level seven plan – click for larger image
Tiwag Power Station Control Center by Bechter Zaffignani Architekten
Section – click for larger image