Daniel Fügenschuh adds a loft to 20th-century apartment block

Daniel Fügenschuh adds white concrete loft to a 20th-century apartment block in Austria

This white concrete extension has been added to the roof of an old apartment block in the Austrian city of Innsbruck, providing extra rooms and a roof terrace with panoramic views (+ slideshow).

Loft Conversion by Daniel Fügenschuh

Local architect Daniel Fügenschuh was commissioned to extend the top floor apartment of a building located in Innsbruck, a city in the western Austrian state of Tyrol, which sits within an Alpine valley.

The residential block has been passed down through several generations of the family to the client – a professional flautist – who commissioned Fügenschuh to create a loft for his top floor apartment.

Loft Conversion by Daniel Fügenschuh

A narrow band of glazing helps separate the white concrete roof extension from the white and pale yellow plasterwork that decorates the 20th-century block below, as well as providing panoramic views of the mountainous landscape around the city.

Loft Conversion by Daniel Fügenschuh

The Loft Conversion provides an extra bedroom, living room and terrace for the client, who runs a workshop specialising in making and restoring baroque flutes – the wooden ancestor of the contemporary metal woodwind instrument.

Although it is best known now as a centre for winter sports in Europe, Innsbruck was once an important hub for the production of music and instruments. It still hosts a respected annual Festival of Early Music – a series of concerts dedicated to music from the Renaissance and Baroque eras.

Loft Conversion by Daniel Fügenschuh

The extension has a flat roof that differentiates the building from its neighbours in the city's St Nikolaus district on the banks of the river Inn, which runs through the heart of the city. The block rises behind a local gasthaus – a type of traditional inn typical in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Loft Conversion by Daniel Fügenschuh

"Behind the Gasthaus Engl a house stands out like a tower," said Fügenschuh. "It is very visible from the old town of Innsbruck on the other riverside of the Inn."

"The aim was to strengthen the existing character of the house as a tower," explained the architect.

Loft Conversion by Daniel Fügenschuh

Panels of white precast concrete were mounted on a timber structure in line with the existing building to create a homogenous connection.

Loft Conversion by Daniel Fügenschuh

"The slick facade looks modern, however it still appears uniformly with the existing lime render facade," said the architect.

Loft Conversion by Daniel Fügenschuh

Each of the concrete facades is supported by a pair of wooden columns, which transfer the load of the extension onto the perimeter walls of the existing house.

Loft Conversion by Daniel Fügenschuh

The extension is lined in planks of spruce wood and is connected to the lower floor of the apartment by a timber staircase.

A narrow strip of glazing runs around the base of the extension, providing panoramic views of the city and the Alps from the terraces and the rooms within.

Loft Conversion by Daniel Fügenschuh

Over the past 15 years, Innsbruck has seen an influx of contemporary architecture, kickstarted by two competitions in the 1980s that generated a fresh debate about the combination of new and old styles in the city.

The Town Hall, designed by French architect Dominique Perrault, was one of the first of the new wave of buildings, and has been followed by a David Chipperfield-designed shopping centre among others.

Loft Conversion by Daniel Fügenschuh

Zaha Hadid designed the Bergisel Ski Jump on the edge of the city, which opened in 2003, as well as an overhaul of the cable cars and rail system leading up to the Nordkette mountain range, which is popular with skiers and snowboarders.

Other recent additions include a bank by Austrian architect Rainer Köberl, and a public plaza with an undulating concrete surface by LAAC Architekten and Stiefel Kramer Architecture.

Photography is by David Schreyer.

Loft Conversion by Daniel Fügenschuh
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
Loft Conversion by Daniel Fügenschuh
First floor plan – click for larger image
Loft Conversion by Daniel Fügenschuh
Section one – click for larger image
Loft Conversion by Daniel Fügenschuh
Section two – click for larger image