Architect: Johannes Spalt, 1975 (renovated 2016/2017)
Etsdorf am Kamp – Grafenegg, Austria
The built lightness of being
At the end of the 1950s, the architect Johannes Spalt and the furniture manufacturer Franz Wittmann got to know each other. This resulted in a mutually beneficial professional collaboration and a friendship that lasted for decades - characterized by an open way of thinking and a consistently modern design language, which has lost none of its relevance as a model of a light, carefree living culture to this day.
Trained bricklayer, celebrated architect, member of the legendary “arbeitsgruppe 4”, rector of the University of Applied Arts, teacher, historian, exhibition organizer and collector: Johannes Spalt's contribution to the specifically Austrian reconciliation of tradition and modernity, which was strongly influenced by Josef Hoffmann and Adolf Loos, is lifelong “thinking with history”.
You can also experience and feel his credo with all your senses in his pavilion-like building Haus Wittmann in Etsdorf am Kamp: In this architectural icon, Spalt combines bourgeois sophistication, formal reduction and relaxed, undogmatic aesthetics in a unique way - and thus demonstrates the reemergence of an upscale one relatively early on Austrian home decor.
The different rooms for cooking, sleeping, relaxing and working, separated from each other like a screen, are lined up around an atrium-like living space with a central travertine fireplace. The slender, roof-supporting supports are hidden in the window jambs, while the expansive steel structure of the roof is hidden by space-forming, curved ship's plywood.
Mahogany wood, onyx marble, Solnhofen limestone and historical fabric designs by Josef Frank characterize the surfaces of the interior rooms. The dialogue with the surrounding gently hilly landscape of the Kamp Valley takes place through large glass and window surfaces as well as through different visual axes to the garden and terrace. A “spalt-typical” Salettl in the park-like garden serves as a welcome outdoor oasis of calm and reflects the living pavilion in smaller dimensions.
As part of the general renovation of the house in 2016/2017, sensitive dismantling and conversions were carried out and the building technology was brought up to date. The valuable furnishings as well as the original kitchen equipment from the 1970s will be preserved, partially supplemented and thus preserved for posterity. In 2018, the Weissmann family applied for monument protection for the completely renovated Haus Wittmann.