Veterinary Practice & Residence / Marte.Marte Architects

Sturdy, earthy, yet subtly sophisticated, the “Griss Equine Veterinary Practice” is located where the village of Rankweil (A) meets the wide Rhine Valley. On the horizon, the rugged peaks of the Alpstein massif pierce the sky.

Architects: Marte.Marte Architects
Location: Rankweil, Austira
Photography: Marc Lins

The clear-lined building, made of rough reinforced concrete and untreated wood, is home to animals as well as humans. An apartment for the veterinarian is combined under one roof with the equine practice – including an in-house pharmacy, treatment rooms, lab, and stables – in such a functional way that the private and public areas are able to coexist without any problem: In short, a finely tuned interaction between work and life, a place of bustle and wellness, both functional and comfy.

To arrange all these different rooms on just one floor with a surface of 27 x 19 meters and still build it as one unit, the pavilion principle was applied. A base plate, a reinforced concrete floor of the same size, and four solid vertical concrete wall plates – turned towards each other in an exciting composition – make up the supporting structure of the building. The partly recessed façade is made of prefabricated wood frame elements (spruce). The continuous surface is interrupted rhythmically by ceiling-high windows. A sheltered passage and a barn-like space separate the working area from the accommodation wing. The clean and direct form is continued in the interior.

The clients and their horses enter the practice, which is set back from the street, from the north side. The big open sliding door, which is part of the façade, reveals the center of the equine practice: the examining room. All the practice’s other rooms are grouped around this central point.  Directly behind it is the operating room and anesthesia box, which are lined with black rubber mats.  The in-house pharmacy, laboratory, and office area, which is also accessible from the outside, is located in the east wing of the building. All of the flooring, built-in furniture, and single wall coverings in this area are made of silver fir. The warm and soft effect of this wood is an appealing contrast to the hard and rather cool concrete.

The outdoor boxes, three in number, face west – towards wide meadows and fields, the round pen, and the small trotting track.  The above-average ceiling height of almost four meters keeps the animals safe even when they rear up and lends an almost sacred charm to this “place of healing”.

inspiration from architects

The apartment faces southwest away from the access road. Big ceiling-high glass sliding doors in the living room offer a wonderful view of the natural landscape. The flooring and wall coverings, made out of silver fir, create a warm and safe environment. The glass elements and concrete wall plates are set well back from the edge of the roof, creating a covered veranda. The dominant base plate and concrete floor draw a clear boundary between inside and outside. Despite this, or perhaps just because of it, the sparsely furnished living room – which is rather small compared to the high ceiling – exudes transitory qualities: It brings the garden into the house and conversely extends the living space into the open air.