Raiding Project: Crossover Architecture

The Raiding Project is a bold cross-cultural undertaking that involves several renowned Japanese architects designing ten multifunctional micro-houses in the Austrian countryside.

Raiding, a village of 850 residents, about a one-hour drive from Vienna is the birthplace of composer Franz Liszt and currently hosts a music festival in his name four times a year.

Stork House

Opened in October 2012, Stork House or Konotori-an was created by Japanese celebrity architect Terunobu Fujimori over a period of eight separate stays in Austria and is the first building of the Raiding Project. It is designed to accommodate people from all walks of life for overnight stays, and on occasion artists can stay for free as part of an artist-in-residence program. The structure was partially constructed from donated building materials and rental income will support future maintenance costs.

Stork House has two stories with a total living space of 34 square meters featuring a multi-functional living room on the ground equipped with kitchen, bathrooms and an open fireplace. The upper level, which covers one third of the ground floor, provides a sleeping space with Japanese futons.

The ceiling nips off in the center like the wings of a resting cicada and ascends seven meters high towards the northern building corner, which is marked by the trunk of an oak tree. Fujimori covered the white ceiling and the walls with a pattern of charcoal pieces that creates the illusion of black raindrops.

Above the sleeping area the oak trunk pierces through the roof where it supports a stork nest 13 meters high; migratory birds from Africa spent their first summer there in 2012.

The roof is made of reef – true to an old tradition shared by Japan and this part of Austria, known as Burgenland. The façade of Stork House consists of “yakisugi” – charcoaled wood planks which were burned by hand, based on a centuries old Japanese technique.

The Creators

Terunobu Fujimori, native of Nagano, architect and specialist in the History of Japanese Architecture is well known among architecture circles. His previous works featured in this book includes: Jinkochan Moriya Historical Museum, Tanpopo House in Tokyo and Takasugi-san in Nagano. In 2006 Fujimori represented Japan at the Venice Biennale.

Image via RMIT Architecture

In addition to Fujimori, the other architects to have already expressed ideas for the Raiding Project include Pritzker Prize winning team SANAA (Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa), Hiroshi Hara (whose small experimental building and two sculptural info-resting spots will be the next constructed), Jun Aoki, Toyo Ito, Kengo Kuma, Yasuhiro Yamashita and Klein Dytham Architects.

Tokyo based writer and photographer Roland Hagenberg, originally from Vienna is the initiator and curator of the Raiding Project. His stories and photographs have featured in magazines such as Vogue and Architectural Digest. His books on japanese architects have been published in English, Japanese and Chinese. Together with Susanne Wegleitner he initiated the Raiding foundation in 2010 to further the cultural exchange between Austria and Japan. In the same year that Hagenberg conceived the Raiding Project his latest book “24 Architects in Japan” was released.

Woschitz Engineering is an innovative Austrian civil engineering company lead by Dr. Richard Woschitz who develops solutions for the Raiding project in collaboration with the Japanese architects and supervises the construction process.

It should also be noted that, since opening, the Stork House quickly managed to have its first guests in the form of a stork couple that nested on the roof. Fujimori consulted with bird experts on the design of the nest, and the results are breathtaking.

Recent Developments

Hiroshi Hara, the second Japanese-star architect to design a structure for the project visited Raiding on June 22nd, 2013 for the Franz list festival where eight Japanese musicians were also invited by the Raiding Foundation to perform at the Franz Liszt Concert Hall.

Austrian TV reported on these visits and the overall importance of the Raiding Project for local tourism. In addition, Stork house was also featured at ”Eastern Promises” an exhibition at the Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna. More news and videos on the Raiding Project can be found at the project’s homepage or Roland Hagenberg’s youtube channel and homepage. So if you are in Austria go check out the Raiding Project!

About the Author

Thomas is a pentalingual graduate of the University of Hong Kong, now based in Japan as editor of Shifteast.com and researcher for Mandalah Tokyo.