top of page

Kitz mit Witz

H.O.M.E / Nadja Wassmann

It curls and flowers and yodels in Kitzbühel that it is a pleasure. The potentiated idyll and cheerfulness should have once seduced an American tourist to question if everything here was real. Kitzbühel knows no grief. For centuries, the Tyrolean town has not suffered any scratches from any war. The only scary fellow the place has ever seen was a swift Swedish rider - a latecomer to the Swedish War. And according to the inscriptions, he did not get further than the chapel. The wealth of the valiant people increased and this wealth led constructing bizarre, exaggerated woodcarvings of the traditional Alpine construction (a style that came from houses being built in poverty) without the aid of architects. Not so much to the delight of the neighbors, the Planers, both lawyers, worked with the Salzburg-based architects, Christine and Horst Lechner, to redesign an old farmhouse located almost in the center of Kitzbühel into something that offers an overdose of alpine idyll in the form of contemporary architectureAttorneys Dr. Peter and DR. Barbara Planner joked last year at the handover: "Isn’t the [alpine house] a nice echo of the fools’ huts all around?" However many neighbors did not laugh. By now most people think it's beautiful - man is a creature of habit. At least those who visited the Planner's home had to admit that it is cozy inside. "To build such a house in Kitzbühel…two crazy people belong together," admits architect Horst Lechner with a smile."It's like a walk-in sculpture, a compact cuboid with [wooden blocks] that look as if they had a giant baby playing with right angles." This artifice creates an expanded living space of 350 square meters.Only at one point are the Jenga blocks superimposed, resulting in three floors. From this pivot point, the two bridgeheads boldly tower eight and twelve feet into the air, like hills. The outer part of the house is made of Prodema panels. The warm tone of the real wood gives it a sense of gentleness despite the sculptural monumentality.The formal language is very clear: the function, on the other hand, is refined, almost playful. The building is spirally accessible. "You would probably have fun playing hide and seek," says Horst Lechner. "However, so that the entire structure does not collapse like a Jenga tower, we have chosen a solid construction for the L-shaped ground floor.The counterbalance to the hovering components above has a multi-dimensional foundation under the pivot and anchor point of the house. There, the hills are actually anchored and pegged into the concrete. The tractive forces take on a kind of bridge-like construction: six centimeters thick steel cables that are visible in the upper studio room and that also function as a design element. "“The studio on the second floor has become our favorite spot during winter,” say the Planers. Aside from the large red chair by the Italian architect, Gaetano Pesce, and the reclining sofa, the refuge of the lawyers is sparsely furnished. When guests stay in the room, they have plenty of privacy from the adjacent bathroom.


On the terrace in front you have 360-degree panoramic views. One floor down is the dressing room and bedroom. A spacious adventure pool is located in the front part of the cube. To take a shower, you step behind a glossy snail-spiral shower screen made from Agave and from the cocoon-shaped, freestanding tub you can see the Hahnenkamm ski race in winter. Of course, there is also a terrace in front of this cube on the first floor, which would be big enough for skating.Perhaps the almost-grown sons of the Planer family have already tried that since they live in a cube that seems to float over the terrace. Its 50 square meter rooms are made entire from exposed concrete, quite fitting for aspiring architects. Martin prefers to be closer to the action in a second youth room downstairs in the main building. Christof thinks that, “it's good to be pretty self-sufficient up here.” The “flying bunker” can be reached through the parents' house via a staircase. To get down, you can also take the ramp located directly in the inner courtyard.At the foot of this ramp, the spiral is over and suddenly you find yourself outdoors - in the quiet green atrium of the house. You could jump the few steps across the lawn onto the terrace and, in playful joy, the winding road in the L-shaped substructure of the alpine ski jump begins again, swirling from the wooden plateau into the library, the open dining area, onto the mighty oak board with white leather chairs and the red lacquered credenza by Gruber + Schlager, finally taking you into the open architect's kitchen.To get living room around the corner, you would have to go back into hallway. A turn further on the stairs leads you to Christoph's floating cube and thus, onto the platform of the first floor. But it has become evening and you have rotated enough, both physically and legally.You want to rest on the paneled terrace, rest in the deep Unopiu armchairs and enjoy the evening after work in the shade of the floating canopy. "When we drink wine out here after work, all the turmoil of the law firm disappears. You feel so safe and yet free in this courtyard," say the two lawyers."We wanted Horst Lechner because we knew of his work with atrium houses. It took some getting used to the 350 square meters of living space at the beginning, but surprisingly enough, the paths and the features were not hard to adapt to, perhaps because man moves in spirals all his life." And the shape? "We like the house. An advantage of getting older is not being upset by the opinions of others and instead, do things that you think are good and right. Or others who are just fun!” Says Peter Planner and winks at the blue Guzzi motorcycle called "California" in the glass-enclosed garage, which seems to have its own room in the courtyard-lit area.


awards for the project

to the project

bottom of page