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Acountry rich in architectural history, Austria’s contributions to building are generally regarded through its many baroque palaces and rococo churches that line its city’s streets and rural landscapes (and for good reason). However, the Austria of today has a surprisingly vibrant architectural scene that is at the cutting-edge of contemporary design and construction innovation. Its leading practices share a commitment to sustainability and bold design while providing thoughtful responses to the special landscapes and building traditions that have been established over time.

If you missed our post on The MUST-SEE Architecture in Vienna, I suggest checking it out as its a great place to discover some of the country’s most innovative and exceptional works of architecture.

Our Top 10 list isn’t a ranking; just a collection of what we feel are the best firms in the country based on their perceived reputation and personal opinion. The firms identified are a healthy mix of established practices that have set the bar for architectural discourse worldwide, along with younger and emerging studios that are leading the way on issues of sustainability and social responsibility. As a result, it was surprisingly challenging to distill the list down to just 10 firms so we’ve taken the liberty of identifying 11 and breaking from tradition ourselves (we even have a 12th just missing the list for reasons noted below).

With that said, here are our picks for The Top 11 Architecture Firms in Austria.

Offshore Borkum Delugan Meissl Associated Architects Apartment Residential Germany Brick Wood

Delugan Meissl Associated Architects

Location: Vienna

Delugan Meissl Associated Architects (DMAA) is an award-winning architecture firm in Vienna that has developed an international portfolio is distinctive for their use of clear contouring and refined detailing. Founded by Elke Delugan-Meissl and Roman Delugan in 1993, the bureau has since expanded the DMAA first made its name with large cultural projects like the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart and the eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam, but some of their more recent work has demonstrated the firm’s positions on critical social and ecological matters. This can be seen in their designs for the visually stunning Taiyuan Botanical Garden in Taiyuan, China, as well as the evocative Offshore Borkum project (pictured), a residential quarter that sits on the dunes of north Germany (pictured).

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Musée des Confluences COOP HIMMELBLAU exterior night

COOP HIMMELB(L)AU

Locations: Vienna, Beijing, Moscow, Melbourne

Counted as one of the originators of the deconstructivist movement, COOP HIMMELB(L)AU is one of the most recognized and celebrated architecture practices in the world. Operating in the fields of architecture, urban planning, design, and art worldwide, the studio propagates a democratic architecture that is open and consciously unstable. As a result, their buildings can be interpreted as functional sculptures that are not hermetically closed monuments, but rather open structures that are both receptive of their surroundings and agents for possibilities. This can be seen in some of their most iconic works including the Musée des Confluences in Lyon (pictured), as well as BMW Welt in Munich; an iconic building for the legendary German carmakers which features a sculptural roof and a double cone figure. Founded in Vienna back in 1968 by Wolf dPrix, Helmut Swiczinsky, and Michael Holzer (who left in 1971), the studio is now led by Wolf dPrix.

2226 Lustenau Baumschlager Eberle Architects Austria Office Design Passive House

Baumschlager Eberle Architekten

Locations: Lustenau, Vaduz, Vienna, St.Gallen, Zurich, Hong Kong, Berlin, Hanoi, Paris, Hamburg, Kraków

Founded in the mountainous state of Vorarlberg in 1985, Baumschlager Eberle’s work was first inspired by the region’s traditional building vernacular and woodworking techniques. As the firm’s portfolio grew, with larger and more complex project typologies being introduced, the practice’s focus shifted towards research on building and façade typologies which became a central element in its working methodology that is celebrated today. Now an international firm with offices spread all over the world, their philosophy has remained true to its core values of authenticity, methodology, and poetry. Their buildings are sensitive to their local environments and create an enduring relevance that goes beyond the fundamental issues of sustainability and energy performance. One of their best-regarded projects is 2226 Lustenau; an office building with a timeless look, energy-efficient building envelope and passive design.

Wirmboden Alpine Chapel Innauer-Matt Architekten

Innauer Matt Architekten

Location: Bezau

Based in the Bregenzerwald, a mountainous valley in Western Austria, Innauer Matt Architects is an emerging firm with an evocative form of architecture that’s strongly connected to its natural surrounding. Founded in 2012 by Markus Innauer and Sven Matt, their work can be described as atmospherically dense, understated in design, and exquisitely detailed. More than anything, however, their works strives to provide an architecture that fits comfortably within its setting, providing a familiar feel to its occupants and those around it, while standing the test of time. My personal favourite project of theirs? It has to be House Dorner, a contemporarily-detailed, traditionally-formed wooden house overlooking a valley.

House D Dornbirn Dietrich Untertrifaller Architects

Dietrich | Untertrifaller Architekten

Locations: Bregenz, Vienna, St Gallen, Paris, Munich

Pioneers in the development of modern timber construction, Dietrich | Untertrifaller Architects are known around the world for their expertise in sustainable design, material craftsmanship and building engineering. A constant theme of their work is the resource-saving and appropriate use of materials in developing creative and socially balanced projects that fit seamlessly into their context. Led by architects Helmut Dietrich, Much Untertrifaller, Dominik Philipp and Patrick Stremler, the office now employs an international team of over 120 people at locations across Europe, with projects ranging from large-scale buildings and urban structures to alterations of existing buildings and single-family homes.

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Bernardo Bader

Bernardo Bader Architects

Locations: Bregenz

Founded in 2003 by architect Bernardo Bader, the studio of the same name is characterized by its strong use of form, its connection to its surroundings, and the meticulous nature of their detailing. Describing their own work as “a unity of nature and culture”, the studio is sensitive to both the internal and external spaces in which they work and the relationship between them. One of their most important works includes the Salgenreute chapel (pictured), a small wood and stone structure expertly crafted and inspired by the region’s old farmhouses.

Roman Villa Marte.Marte Architects Brederis Austria

Marte.Marte Architects

Location: Feldkirch Neustadt

Located in a picturesque town at the borders of Switzerland and Lichtenstein, Marte.Marte Architects was founded by brothers Bernhard and Stefan Marte in 1993 after completing their studies at the Technical University in Innsbruck. Over the years, the studio has developed a reputation for their wide-ranging designs that have a reductive and abstracted approach to them. This can be seen in some of their most iconic works including a walk-in structure amongst the remains of a Roman Villa (pictured), a memorable monolithic concrete cabin in Laterns, and a timber and aluminum boathouse along a canal in Fussach.

Berger+Parkkinen

Locations: Vienna, Helsinki

Founded by Tiina Parkkinen and Alfred Berger in 1995, the offices of Berger+Parkkinen Architekten are renowned for their transdisciplinary approach to design, combining elements of architecture, urbanism, and landscape to create projects with a distinctive atmosphere and identity. At the core of their work is the premise that architecture starts as an idea or spiritual principle that is generated out of a project’s geography and is the driving force of the design process. The idea then, is the sum of all the distinctive impacts on that geography, such as site, landscape, climate, functionality, social environment and economy. Their projects, as a result, generate themselves autonomously and innovatively and include the Paracelsus Bad & Kurhaus in Salzburg (pictured), the Embassies of the Nordic Countries in Berlin, and Seestadt Aspern (completed with querkraft in 2020), to name a few.

Angedair Elementary School

Franz&Sue

Locations: Vienna

Since the “marriage” of the two Viennese architecture offices of Franz and Sue in May 2017, the combined studio of Franz&Sue has gone on to win several international architectural competitions in the fields of education, housing and office buildings. Their architectural approach can be defined as clear, reduced, and of a high-quality with natural materials found throughout. Some of their most notable built work includes a school extension with sunken gymnasium (pictured) and a chemistry lab with a landscaped courtyard. In 2020 Franz&Sue won the Lower Austrian Culture Prize in architecture, and before that the Bauherrenpreis, the Austrian State Prize, and the Fiabci World Prix D’Excellence. .

IKEA the good neighbour querkraft Vienna Austria Hostel design architecture

Querkraft

Locations: Vienna

Founded in 1998, the Vienna-based architecture office of querkraft has worked on over 100 projects ranging from competition entries to completed buildings across Austria and abroad. With a team of approximately 45 people, their mission is about “giving people space”; an increasing concern in an urbanizing world that expresses the studio’s constant striving for generosity in the field of spatial design, and for the kind of freedom that facilitates a users’ personal development. In the area of housing in particular, querkraft has realised many projects that embody this philosophy of poetic pragmatism. Office and museum buildings, or projects in public spaces are also a fixed part of the work of querkraft as is shown, for instance, in the Liaunig Museum in Carinthia, which has already been declared a listed building. Respect, friendliness and joy in the work are the credo of Jakob Dunkl, Gerd Erhartt, Peter Sapp and their team

Großweikersdorf Community Center smartvoll architects View from the main square

Smartvoll

Locations: Vienna

Located in one of the most hipster districts in Vienna, Smartvoll is a young and emerging architecture studio with a clear and simple vision for what they seek to achieve. Their work can be described as form-driven, with a creative and unpretentious design process that is complemented by an awareness of structural realities. Ultimately, there designs lead to a surprising and extraordinary solution that creates wonderful moments in and around their buildings. They also may or may not have a banana tree in their studio…

Special Mention

Precht

While not making our ultimate list due to the absence of a significant portfolio of built work, Precht is a studio to watch out for in the coming years. Founded by architect Chris Precht and his architect-wife Fei, the duo has amassed a huge following on Instagram for their provocative designs, innovative thinking and engagement.

Source: https://www.avontuura.com/

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By Lala