Austrian architect Daniel Fügenschuh began his practice five years ago in Innsbruck when he was 39. He struck out alone after spending two years working for Hopkins Architects in London. Current projects include a new school extension in Rattenberg, a supermarket in Wiesing for the M-Preis chain and new headquarters for the UN in Podgorica, Montenegro.
Like most start-ups, his first office was a modest room in his house. Having outgrown this space, (he now employs six people) Fügenschuh decided to expand. Seeking to make use of his huge garden but not wanting to sacrifice the views, he came up with an ingenious solution: he built a 300 sq m studio underground. This is no bunker though. With the compound dropping 7m towards street level, he installed a huge glass window on one side. It brings in plenty of natural light and makes for inspiring views. Inside, the concrete structure is warmed up by detailed finishes in wood – the ceiling and stairs are crafted in larch. The desks and chairs are Vitra classics.
01 Wow factor: “There’s an ‘a-ha’ experience for everyone looking at it,” says Fügenschuh proudly.
02 Advertising: The expansive window facing the street attracts curious onlookers. “Right on the very first day in the office a passerby stopped and asked me to design a house for him,” he says.
03 Space: By going underground Fügenschuh created a new building without needing most of the usual planning permissions.