SSC voestalpine Stahl Service Center / x Architekten

Architects: x Architekten
Location: Oberösterreich,
Client: Voestalpine Stahl Service Center
Construction: Construction
Constructed Area: 7,750 sqm
Project Year: 2004-2008
Photographs: Paul Ott

The building functions as an interface between road, rail and waterway transport. The delivery and outgoing goods sections embody the dynamism and efficiency of the company voestalpine SSC.

Architecturally, the financial success of the enterprise is symbolised by the wide open access gates. The projecting roof structure intensifies this statement and directs attention towards the qualities inherent in the company’s signature material – steel.

In the heterogeneous environment of the industrial zone with its company signs and logos, the building epitomises functionality and credibility. The concept reflects the market-economy demand for “corporate architecture”.

Cite: "SSC voestalpine Stahl Service Center / x Architekten" 29 Apr 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 18 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=18332>

14 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I have mixed emotions about this project. It’s a nice and clean form and I am asuming that the building interior is pretty functional. I cannot however find any reason for these huge overhangs to exist in this form. Architecture is not only about the form. It is also (mainly) about function and common sense.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I wonderful way to cover some parking spaces without having to building a seperate and “verylikelytobeugly” canopy.

    that is all.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Please note how high are these overhangs over the ground. Considering their height and configuration, a protective role is at least questionable. I don’t think they were designed that way to provide protection… but why? I don’t know…

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    The studio states pretty clearly that the function of the design is brand reinforcement, placing an emphasis on the “soaring” success of the client and providing differentiation in a neighborhood full of prefab warehouses.

    My interpretation is that there is a strong nod here to “Googie” (or roadside) architecture of the mid twentieth century, where the form of the structure became the meta-brand of the business it represented. There is an excellent book by Jim Heimann called Googie that was one of the first appreciations, explorations, and documentations of this particular meme.

    Certainly here the form meets the Googie criteria nicely, especially given that it seems that this structure is visible from the nearby autobahn. Likewise, since the function of the building is trans-modal it seems to me that the the form is consistent with past examples of railhead architecture that often have a soaring and emblematic quality.

    After all, this is just a warehouse. However, there is no reason it shouldn’t look a little outrageous. Expressive form works at this scale. When it gets blown up to the size of a skyscraper or a museum then it starts to look ridiculous; case in point the hotel “homage to Marcel Duchamp” in Sweden or any recent project of O.M.A.

    Terry Glenn Phipps

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I presume it’s to resemble a wedge of steel, and the building advertise itself? The published statement does explain. The size/depth of the canopy will make the front dark in a simple horizontal configuration and it is a solution to angle the underside, allowing light to penetrate deeper and a sight-line skyward. The hand sketches explains cross ventilation. I presume the sun nor the rain is particularly strong in Austria. This “tin-shed” is reasonable well done and seem effortless.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Googie architecture has its charm when it survives since 1950′s or 1960′s. Nicely restored, it may be very attractive in a contemporary settings. Built today however, it appears to be artificial and a bit out of our world which functions in a dramaticly different circumstances.

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Terry, it’s contradicting – Googie reference is fine whilst “homage to Duchamp” is inappropriate? Unfortunately, that Duchamp reference to the hotel project was not the architect’s either. Labelling architecture serve no purpose.

    Bo, “our world”? “One man’s meat: another man’s poison” perhaps? I happen to like Googie and nostalgia. Your statement submit to Terry’s statement that the factory is Googie referencing.

    I am confused.

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I understand it’s for a steel company, but that doesn’t mean you have to use the most dead and impersonal materials and shapes imaginable just for the sake of it. It looks like an architecty caricature of a warehouse.

    Just look at that overhang. It says “I’m there, and you can’t do a damn thing about it.” Maybe effective. But pretty much the opposite of sympathetic. I sure wouldn’t want to drive past that on the autobahn.

    Heavy, diagonal shapes always end up in nightmarish proportions.

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    What I meant was that every architectural style has its own time. The style reflects situation in which it was created. Sometimes the style comes back with a prefix “neo” but even then, it has its own characteristcs. I also like Googie and nostalgia. I personally contributed a lot to restoration/rehabilitation of many heritage buildings across the world. 21 century is much different from the Googie time and comparing this building to the structures raised 50-60 years earlier looks like an attempt to provide a justification to a contemporary form which does not make much sens (other than a kind of a creators’ statement).

  10. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Actually the concept of architecture as brand device has been around for a very long time. I made the reference to Googie or roadside architecture (I don’t like the term Googie because it has a pejorative twang that is underserved) because this is, well, roadside architecture.

    There is nothing incoherent in pointing out that scale of the project has an impact. However, taking scale entirely out of the equation there remains the brand question of why anyone would want to create the connotation of an enormous urinal for a hotel project (referenced to the Swedish hotel project previously posted).

    Finally, I strongly disagree that architectural expression is confined to its “time”. Actually, worthwhile architecture ought to transcend its time. This is what is so satisfying about modern architecture. Modern architecture in its highest expression traced its roots to the architectural traditions of the early Greeks, certainly to the romans, and definitely to its “neo” moment in the renaissance. The modernism of Mies was merely the latest expressive abstraction of classical thinking.

    Terry Glenn Phipps

  11. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    The connotation was definitely not the architect’s. The Swedish hotel is entitled “the Swan” if I am not mistaken. The “branding” debate draws a quote from my favourite book, The Little Prince. “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” Chapter one in the book is one to savour.

    To put it simply, if I was unfortunate enough to have never used a urinal of that description or be familiar with Duchamp’s work, which incidentally is named “The Fountain” … would I be able to follow what you mean? Sometimes, to subject a piece of work to a levelled plane is fair, but it’s the “level” that I want to be mindful of. Anyway, Duchamp likes word games and is an artist, far from what challenges the work of an architect, in my opinion.

    Well, it’s interesting to see how the world is deciphered and interpreted. However, I prefer to seek out its quality.

  12. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    indeed its a very simple and clean design, and it clearly looks like it belongs for a steel company of some kind. Somehow it feels like a tent with super large overhangs.

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