Tradition and modernity in perfect harmony at the Austrian Post Office in Vienna
In the middle of one of the most vibrant districts of Vienna, nestled in the densely built-up city centre around the Rochus Market, stands the exquisite new Post am Rochus – a skilful blend of new construction and listed building that cleverly fuses tradition and modernity. Lighting planner and designer Christian Ploderer worked closely with Zumtobel to create a lighting concept that achieves real harmony with the architecture of Schenker Salvi Weber and feld72, delivering light that is perfectly attuned to the people, the area and the task. The result is a progressive and contemporary office and service space that still manages to maintain all the charm of the original building. This successful balancing act has helped the project claim first prize in the “Office and Administration” category at the AIT AWARDs.
Open communication areas, flexible office landscapes, no permanent workplaces and a clean-desk philosophy: The new corporate headquarters of the Austrian Post Office is both flexible and forward-looking. Yet it is not only the office culture that is moving with the times, as visitors cannot fail to be impressed by the modern functionality and aesthetics of the building itself. Architects from Schenker Salvi Weber with feld72 have brilliantly combined old and new to come up with a design that blends beautifully into the densely built-up area around the Rochusplatz square, right in the middle of Vienna’s third district. The listed building from the 1920s has been seamlessly integrated into the new construction using floor-to-ceiling glazing and striking grid-like openings, while the old and new parts have been physically connected by a multi-storey atrium-like architectural link.
This new ensemble is further emphasised by the light. Working closely with architects from Schenker Salvi Weber and feld72, lighting planner and designer Christian Ploderer has crafted a multi-layered lighting design for every area. The inclusion of Zumtobel in the project has enabled the realisation of a holistic lighting concept from one source – a concept where daylight combines with artificial light, where light colours are carefully differentiated and where luminaires simply seem to disappear into the architecture.
A skylight is supported by gentle and diffuse artificial light to illuminate the elongated 35-metre-high atrium, which acts as an imposing interface that connects all the office floors to the old building. No luminaires disrupt the join between old and new, as modern light lines installed in the landings give the space a high-quality feel. PANOS evolution downlights from Zumtobel with a neutral white light colour are barely visible in the concrete ceilings above the connecting stairway, letting their light show users the way.
PANOS evolution luminaires sunk by the lighting designer into concrete elements around the entrance to the shopping centre use their light to direct people inside, where fittings from the same family are mounted in the louvered ceiling. The building complex is additionally flooded with daylight from two large skylights, while light lines in the escalator area have been irregularly positioned to add a modern lighting mood by forming a kind of barcode arrangement.
The architects have realised a generous interior design approach on the floors of the post office headquarters, including open communication zones and clearly defined retreat areas for the 1100 employees. The lounge, which also houses a stamp museum, is lit by the INTRO modular LED lighting system, enabling individual spotlights to be mounted in the acoustic ceiling to provide good general lighting. This installation is complemented by ceiling-recessed SLOTLIGHT infinity light lines that give the corridors and spaces a real feel-good atmosphere, providing clear orientation for visitors and delivering a contemporary lighting contrast.
Light and not luminaires – just like the spotlights set in the eye-shaped louvered ceiling of the shopping centre, recessed, narrow-beam and therefore glare-free Cetus downlights from the Thorn sister brand disappear like “invisible luminaires” behind the louvered ceiling of the office corridors in the new building.
Round ONDARIA wide-area LED luminaires in the conference rooms, combined with additional corner-mounted DIAMO spotlights, deliver a different kind of light. Despite their surface area, the extreme flatness of ONDARIA means that the fittings take up minimal space, which in turn helps generate an open and interactive atmosphere.
When it comes to visual comfort, MIREL evolution pendant luminaires mounted above the computer workstations guarantee the best standards. As a special feature of the lighting concept, these solutions have been specified with two different light colours: 4000 K direct light and 3500 K indirect light. The puristic design of MIREL evolution and the complementary light colours blend seamlessly into the room architecture, supporting orientation and at the same time offering task-specific lighting for office work. All of the luminaires can be controlled and dimmed via DALI.
The integration of the existing protected building into the new construction has helped the Post am Rochus project complete the former urban-planning gaps of the famous site. The result is a building that merges flawlessly into the metropolitan context of Vienna in every sense, becoming an essential part of both the cityscape and urban life around the Rochusmarkt. And this coming together of tradition and modernity is continued with the award-winning interior architecture. Old and new are skilfully merged in an approach based on functionality, aesthetics and well-being. The lighting designs by Christian Ploderer clearly play a decisive role in this process. His ideas fit perfectly into the interior design crafted by the architects, achieving a sweeping concept that shows the way, emphasises the functionality of the spaces and creates a truly pleasant atmosphere.