Domenig Steinhaus – 禁慾型的建築

The ultimate architecture for Günther Domenig- Domenig Steinhaus

Austrians love their mountains the most. The Alps characterise almost the whole of Austria. That is why the majority of Austrians love hiking so much. Every Wednesday people check the weather to see if the weather at the weekend is suitable for hiking. What kind of work would an architect create who is in love with the mountains? Let’s discover Austrian architect Günther Domenig’s world!

View from train to Domenig Steinhaus

Günther Domenig was born in Carinthia (Kärnten) in 1934, and studied architecture at Graz University of Technology. He is one of the pioneers of Deconstructivism. A group of architects based in Graz achieved recognition following the ‘Grazer Schule’ exhibition and a widely disseminated catalogue (published 1984), with Domenig the most significant member in terms of works built and international standing. The way that Domenig expressed Deconstructivism was not only limited in its use of metal frames and glazing; he also actively explored the structure of concrete in order to change the traditional way of design. He was also very interested in organic architecture, and used his direct architectural language to express the relationship between humans and architecture. Very often his architectural design conflicted with its environment, just as his point of view highlighted contemporary architecture’s problems.

View over the landscape with Domenig Steinhaus

Domenig’s personal manifesto is his own house, the Steinhaus at Lake Ossiach. He wanted to make his dream come true, and could finally build his ultimate architecture for himself, rather than for a client. Despite an inheritance from the estate of his grandmother, the help of various volunteers, and his own money to the tune of four million euros, this project – started in 1982 – could still not be completed by the time Domenig died in 2012.

View from camping area to Steinhaus.

This work is also his biography. A chronic injury to his hand caused him to use the hand as an important theme in his architecture. The whole work was inspired by the mountains. The hill grows from the earth, and the hill is separated by rocks. Inside of the rocks are complicated spaces and crisscrossing paths, like walking inside mineral structures and playing hide and seek. The metal facade symbolises the glacier, which glitters in the sun. From the distance one side of the building looks like three huge rocks flowing in the air. This inspiration comes from the Alpine tradition of building cairns (Steinmännchen). Hikers build these piles of rocks to remind others to be careful at dangerous spots.

View from entrance to the garden and roof.

From the entrance you can see the lake through the garden, and the footbridge, which Domenig designed to look like a hand. His beloved water lilies have been maintained there, of course. There is a black hill in the garden, which was originally designed as a theatre stage. Unfortunately the neighbour’s estate (the camping area) was not for sale, meaning Domenig’s dream could not be fulfilled.

View to the black hill and mountains.

To the left of the entrance are public areas. There is space for a workshop, kitchen, cinema, lecture theatre, and a guest room with a hidden toilet unit. Only the guest room has a sliding door; other areas have no door because it is an open space concept. In the underground floor there is a gargoyle to let the rain water come into the building. There is also a construction where you can see the underground water’s level. This design allows the rain water to go back to the ground. And here was Domenig’s favourite place to meditate. Sometimes a couple of frogs may accidentally come into the building from the gargoyle. Every day, a warden has to check this area and bring those frogs back to nature.

At the right side of the entrance are private rooms. There is an office, small exhibition area, and work area for the architect. All the top is Domenig’s private room. The only colour he used for indoor is red orange, to stimulate occupants’ cognition. Various details show how Domenig uses high-tech solutions and constructions. Nowhere in this building can be called “standard”! Even the stainless bath tub with multiple angles was a special design by Domenig. He wanted users to experience different areas of temperature, so in fact as I was there, the room at the top is 5 degrees warmer than the area in the underground floor. That was an interesting experience.

Since 2012 Domenig Steinhaus has become a listed (protected) building. Unfortunately, due to the huge cost of heating in the cold season, Domenig Steinhaus is only available for visitors in the warmer six months. During this time various exhibitions, concerts and think tanks take place in this wonderful space.

View from entrance to workshop area and garden.

In the 80s this building was criticised as a monster. But this amazing work really touches me and leaves such an impression on me. All Domenig’s persistency and passions about architecture, art and nature are left in his beloved Steinhaus.

Can you see the hand?


Uferweg 31

A-9552 Steindorf

View from bridge to glasshouse and Domenig’s private room. The metal facade glitters in the sun. A beautiful composition of different materials.


奧地利人最愛他們的山脈,阿爾卑斯山脈幾乎是奧地利的代言了。因此大部分的奧地利人非常喜愛登山,每週三大家就會看天氣預報看週末的天氣是否適合去登山。一位熱愛山脈的建築師會設計出什麼樣的作品呢?讓我們探索奧地利建築師根藤·多枚尼 (Günther Domenig) 的世界吧!

Everything here is designed by Günther Domenig, inclusive all the sculptures.

根藤·多枚尼1934年生於克恩頓 (Kärnten),在格拉茨工業大學接受建築專業教育。他算是奧地利解構主義建築風格較早的探索者,同時也是格拉茲建築學派 (Grazer Schule) 的創始人。多枚尼對於建築結構形象的表現,並不限於在金屬框架和玻璃的搭配上,還積極探索混泥土結構突破傳統的形象設計。此外他也表現出對於有機建築形象的興趣,以更加直白的建築語言表現人與建築的關係。他設計的建築形象往往在和周邊環境的強烈衝突中表現建築師對當代建築問題的觀點。

The metal facade symbolises the glacier.


Behind the hand-construction.

這個作品也是他人生的縮寫,因為手受傷沒有完全復原,所以他把自己受傷的手當一個重要的主題表達在建築中。整體構想是來自山脈,從泥土中誕生了山丘,山丘又被岩石分開。這個岩石被錯綜複雜的空間及走道穿透一直到地下水的層面。在裡面走動時像在礦石中穿梭,又像在洞穴裡玩捉迷藏。金屬外殼的部分象徵著冰河,在陽光照耀下閃閃發光。有一邊遠看像懸浮的三個巨石, 這個設計靈感來自阿爾卑斯山上堆石頭小人的傳統 (Steinmännchen), 在危險的路段人們會堆石頭小人做記號提醒登山者要小心 。

Three rocks- inspiration from cairns (Steinmännchen).

從入口可以透過花園看到湖,還有他自己設計像一隻手的木板小橋。當然他愛的蓮花也不能少。花園中有他設計的黑色山丘, 是他原來構想中戲劇的舞台位置, 可惜因無法購買隔壁露營區的土地而無法完成他的夢想。

入口左邊的空間都是公共使用空間,有創作的工作室,廚房,電影院,講座的空間,還有客房加上隱藏式衛浴。這個區域都沒有門, 因為是開放性空間所以可以到處流動。只有客房有滑動門的設計。地下室有讓雨水流入(雨漏)及看到地下水水位的地方,這個設計能讓雨水回歸泥土。這裡也是多枚尼以前喜愛的冥想之處。只是有時候青蛙會意外的從雨漏跑進來, 工作人員每天得檢查這裡, 把誤入的青蛙帶回大自然。

右邊部分都是私人的空間,有辦公室,小展覽室,讓建築師使用的工作空間,最上面是多枚尼以前使用的房間。他所有使用的材質都是清水混凝土,金屬及玻璃帷幕牆。唯一室內有的顏色是桔紅色,刺激使用者的感官。從很多細部可以看到多枚尼使用的高科技和施工方法。沒有一個地方是所謂的”正常規格”!連不鏽鋼的多角形浴缸也是他自己特別的設計。他想讓使用者體驗不同空間的溫度。 當我拜訪石頭屋時最上層的房間和地下室的溫差有將近五度, 非常有趣的體驗。


Light and shadow effect in the glasshouse. View to the entrance.


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Uferweg 31

A-9552 Steindorf