Vague Mass

Jonathan Dessi-Olive (website)
University of Pennsylvania School of Design
Arch 601 Design Studio
Brief: Contemporary Housing – Vienna, Austria
Faculty: Matias del Campo (SPAN Architects) (website)


The site is completely dominated by the Gothic Cathedral in the center of the Stephansplatz. This project investigates how the Gothic aesthetic might be reintroduced to the plaza in a unquestionably contemporary manner.

Vague Mass is largely comprised of residences on the upper levels and introduces a pair of boutiques which terminate an existing commercial arcade in the neighboring building. Additionally, there is a spa/pool program that is paired with a salon on the ground floor. A symmetrical and repeating ornamentation is used, which is carried from the facade to the atrium. The development of a component was vital to establishing how symmetry and rhythm help shape the lattice and its articulation in space. Furthermore, the building is both highly articulated and highly regulated.


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