Tall dark, handsome and a little rough around the edges, the Maiden Tower, designed by Marte Marte and located in Dafins, Vorarlberg, Austria, is the monolithic protector of 3 young daughters. Comprised of a common room on the ground level and a bedroom on each of the additional 3 volumes, this 4-storey tower is clad in oxidized steel and accessed either poolside or from the concrete terrace over top of the garage, next to the el fresco dining terrace.
As tall and demanding as the Maiden Tower is, from a distance it still manages to blend harmoniously within its surrounding landscape. In fact the main building which houses the social zone and master suite is more dominant on the landscape then the tower due to its white, rather then oxidized facade.
Both the concrete main structure and the oxidized steel are raw and natural materials – each offering a similar yet different aesthetic. One stands tall and proud within its rustic finish and the other short and stout and boldly pale against the treed surround.
Positioned between the two structures is a separate low volume that contains an in-ground pool and deck also clad in oxidized steel contrasting so serenely with the brilliant blue of the water.
The roof of the nearby farm compliments the oxidized surface of the tower and pool creating a beautiful and picturesque composition of 3 that can easily be enjoyed from the main building.
Although a section of grass separates the pool from the two structures, both have easy access to the pool. The concrete volume via operable walls of glazing and the tower via a large, wide pivoting door.
The hinges within the door are almost invisible with only their sides peaking out from recesses in the door’s edge.
The irregular patina on the oxidized steel helps camouflage the poolside doorway on the Maiden Tower.
The 3 bedrooms within the Maiden Tower have their windows facing towards the main building rather then the pool for privacy without loosing the view from within.
Street side the tower appears as a solid block of patina’d steel as it rises up over the landscape. An interesting feature to the tower is the way it shields the garage from direct sun via its shadow.
The garage creates a concrete terrace that is the main thoroughfare from the main building to the private tower and a discreet door is almost invisible within the steel cladding. The disappearing act of the door is helped along by the attention grabbing ventilation baffles on the sides of the building. These baffles run the height of all 3 steel sides.
Inside the tower the concrete construction is exposed , covering walls, ceilings, floors and steps.
Each of the three bedrooms has one wall completely covered in glazings offering views to the pool, the main structure as well as the landscape beyond.
It’s a pretty amazing view.
The view towards the main house overlooks the outdoor dining area tucked between the tower, the garage and the main structure.
The el fresco dining experience has the best of both worlds – an intimate and protected space as well as panoramic views of the forest and mountains beyond.
Although the visitor’s bridged entrance to the home is just a few feet away from the outdoor dining area, it remains hidden from view.
Marte Marte was clever in their layout of the volumes within the site. The approaching road travels past the private facade of the tower as it connects to the driveway leading to the garage that creates the concrete entry terrace for the tower. Then the road curves around to connect with the bridged entry of the main structure on the other side. Both buildings along with the sloped landscape then create a U shape that shields the outdoor dining area which is fronted by the pool – clever.
Marte Marte also created a natural transition between the two buildings by having the girls travel first through the library, down a few steps into the separate kitchen and then through the dining room facing the pool, where they then climb the stairs within the tower to their own private bedrooms.
With the 3 girls sleeping in their own private volume, Marte Marte smartly faced the glazings towards the main house – but also created a solid wall on the main structure facing the tower. This way even though mom and dad can keep an eye on them, they still have their privacy.
The direction of the tower’s windows also ensures privacy from all of the public outdoor spaces.
The way the various volumes have been connected and separated from each other makes it possible to live together both publicly and privately, which is something the girls will appreciate even more as they grow up.
Photography by Marc Lins