Advanced Design Studio: Shim, The Intercontinental Hotel
This proposal retains the existing Intercontinental Vienna Hotel (Holabird & Root, 1962) and resolves the brief’s programmatic additions with a new, mid-block building that creates two new gassen (alleys), enhancing connectivity between the Ringstrasse to the north and the residential neighborhood to the south. Rather than treating the entire block as a unified development, this proposal sees value in the heterogeneity of multiple buildings from different periods, and the liveliness of the public realm created at their interstices. As such, the proposal hopes to restore a human scale to a site currently defined by infrastructural and automotive-scaled boundaries, extending the medieval-derived Viennese urban fabric.
The multiple programmatic zones of the building – retail, residences, ice skating, conference – are deliberately scrambled in section, forcing new social adjacencies and interactions. The resulting complex – in contrast to the hermetic, self-contained bubble of the current Intercontinental – is a public promenade of seeing and being seen, that builds on the long tradition of other Viennese civic institutions like the Staatsoper. Likewise, the presently-consolidated activities of the Eislaufverein will be dispersed across the site to further activate the interior and exterior public spaces.