A Good Neighbor

John Hill
16. September 2021
Photo © IKEA

As part of the Swedish furniture company's push to be more sustainable, in line with its buy back program and longterm goal to be "circular and climate positive," IKEA recently opened a store in central Vienna that was designed by the architects at querkraft with terraces for 160 trees — and not a single parking space.

We learned about querkaft's plans for IKEA Vienna Westbahnhof in January 2020, before the pandemic took hold and made spending an afternoon at an IKEA store impossible. Eighteenth months later — as of August 26, 2021, to be exact — and IKEA City Center is open, welcoming shoppers who arrive on foot, by bike, or by public transit. What about getting the company's famous flat-packed furniture home? IKEA delivers the parcels to the shoppers' homes.

A rendering of the "green" building that now sits on a large parcel formerly occupied by the substantial "Blaues Haus." (Visualization © querkraft-zoomvp)

Querkraft describes their competition-winning design for IKEA City Center as "a good neighbor," in line with IKEA's wishes for the highly visible store. Formally, the building has an "external shell [that] recalls a set of shelves," per the architects, fitting for a client whose most popular product is the Billy bookcase. The 4.3-meter shelf-like zone provides shade, space to expand, terraces for the many trees, and a zone for stairs, lifts, and other vertical services. 

Photos of the seven-story building, completed and under construction, follow, with more information on this neighborly addition to Vienna.

Compared to the rendering above, this view east along Mariahilfer Straße shows the (nearly) final building faithful to its competition-winning design. (Photo © IKEA)
Although the exterior has a consistent shelf-like expression, the building also includes a 345-bed hostel on the top two floors, giving the location a 24/7 life. (Photo © querkraft)
Steel framing on the exterior gives way to a reinforced concrete frame on the inside, set on a 10-meter grid for flexibility in laying out the store. (Photo © IKEA)
On the roof is a publicly accessible terrace that offers, in the architects' words, "somewhere to drink coffee, to relax and to enjoy the view of the city." (Photo © IKEA)

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