Baroque Villa at Stift Rein | Andreas Lechner

Renovation and Extension Graz / Austria / 2013

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The two-storey villa in the greater Graz area dates at back to the beginning of the 17th century and is historically closely related to "Stift Rein", the oldest still active Cistercian monastery in the world. For the residence of the monastery's attorneys, a representative building in sight of the monastery was chosen for the entrusted secular administrators. The floor plans of the building have hardly changed since construction, and to this day they still give an impression of the typical spatial order for the late Renaissance and early baroque.


Around 1900 two Viennese families bought the property and transformed it into a summer cottage for two families. Most of the architectural transformations of the rooms came from this period, when also a family of caretakers started to inhabit the two western rooms on the ground floor.


The renovation and extension of the baroque structure focused on the one hand on installing appropriate heating solutions and a complete renewal of all electrical and sanitary infrastructures. On the other hand the completely preserved ceiling constructions - vaults and timber constructions - were being accurately refurbished as well as historical plastering and stucco works, historical doors and locks. Almost all modifications from the 20th century – windows, toilet booths, balconies, partition walls etc. – were either inappropriate, dilapitated or dysfunctional and were thus removed. The extension to the west of the villa houses a seperate guest appartment with a bedroom and bathroom and replaces the former entrance and staircase to the caretaker's apartment in the two western rooms on the ground floor. The apartment’s floor level is about one meter above the other ground floors of the villa due to a vaulted cellar only under this part of the house. The extension is a timber constructed box that is encased by an triangular porch that bridges the height difference and the slope of the site. Grey larch is used for cladding and construction, contrasting the whitewashed both stonework and brickwork walls of the renovated villa. As the building was not listed, the decision to not plaster the more than 80cm thick walls again was favored, that now provides a view onto and into the building history of the villa. A listed building had demanded both a new and historically appropriate plastering and wooden windows with inner and outer casements. The two triangularly shaped porches provide wind protected outdoor living spaces, while the triangular overall shape also allowed for keeping the shading plum trees.

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    The two-storey villa in the greater Graz area dates at back to the beginning of the 17th century and is historically closely related to "Stift Rein", the oldest still active Cistercian monastery in the world. For the residence of the monastery's attorneys, a representative building in sight of the monastery was chosen for the entrusted secular administrators. The floor plans of the building have hardly changed since construction, and to this day they still give an impression of the typical...

    Project details
    • Year 2013
    • Work started in 2011
    • Work finished in 2013
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Single-family residence
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