Dezeen Magazine

The interior of a loft apartment

Caged wooden galleries feature in Puzzle Link apartment by Gheorghe

Architecture and research studio Gheorghe has inserted two triangular cross-laminated timber structures into a loft in Vienna as part of its renovation of the apartment.

Set within a historic building in Vienna's 13th district, the top level of the apartment was designed to encourage interaction between a couple and their children.

Two cross-laminated timber (CLT) structures, which dominate each end of the space, were designed to provide the occupants with places to work, play and look down onto the open-plan living and dining area below.

Made up of 698 planks the structures incorporate shelves, storage space, seating areas and tables. They are both be accessed by a set of timber stairs.

An attic apartment with timber structures inside
Puzzle Link is a loft apartment in a historic building in Vienna

"Through the wooden structure the built-in attic becomes a place of approach by enabling visual relationships, warmth through used materials and a hybrid zone between different spatial functions," said Gheorghe co-founder Andrei Gheorghe.

"We wanted to create an aesthetic and practical connection, to gain additional spatial functions and to make the spacious intermediate space multifunctional and to make it a meeting place," Gheorghe told Dezeen.

Planks of cross-laminated timber arranged like a puzzle
Two wooden galleries dominate each end of the space

The Vienna-based studio redesigned the attic floor for the family who required a "sustainable, unique and functional" space to live. According to Gheorghe, the warm-toned timber was used for its ability to be reused if needed.

"The inspiration for the design was marked by the fact that it needed to be sustainable, unique and functional," Gheorghe explained.

"This is the perfect material for us, on one hand offering the necessary structural strength and dimensions but also the possibility of being reused," he added.

"This is a sustainable material because all the leftovers after the milling process could be further processed towards wood pellets."

Planks of light brown wood
They are made from 698 planks of cross-laminated timber

Each two-by-five plank was CNC-milled by a local carpentry company. The planks were then constructed using 3D-modelling techniques and scripting technology to give the structures their unusual, jigsaw-like shape.

This is also what led the studio to name the project Puzzle Link.

While transforming the space, the studio also looked to maintain its original historical features.

The Viennese tiles that lined the building's original staircase, which had been saved and stored by the client, were cleaned and reused for the floor of the raised platform that runs inside alongside the terrace.

Although the apartment has been sparsely decorated, a few key pieces of furniture that the family collected while travelling abroad are placed around the space.

A Shaker style fireplace
The apartment is sparsely furnished

A minimalist Shaker hearth by German fireplace manufacturer Skantherm sits underneath the timber stairs while a floor-to-ceiling bookcase can be found inside one of the timber structures.

A black storage unit made from coated MDF, paper and acrylic resin in the open plan area provides contrast to the otherwise whitewashed wooden furnishings.

Elsewhere, a skylight punctuates the slanted roof and along with several smaller windows, floods the space with natural light.

Other Viennese apartments include Beletage Apartment by British architect Alex Graef, an apartment with restored oak flooring and clean white walls.

Meanwhile, Slovenian architecture studio Kombinat renovated an apartment in the Austrian capital into a hybrid living space with room for both cooking and working.

The photography is by Frame9.

More images and plans

Puzzle Link by Gheorghe
Puzzle Link by Gheorghe
Puzzle Link by Gheorghe
Puzzle Link by Gheorghe