Zenithizer. A Cathedral of Light.

Zenithizer. A Cathedral of Light.

Daylight in buildings - Region 2: Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Beverly Mori
Samuel Spindler

DI Dr Hildegard Sint
Arch. DI Michael Wildmann

FH Campus Wien


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zenithizer is a vibrant community centre located in ottakring, vienna‘s 16th district, next to „hernalser gürtel“ main street, that is supposed to become everybody‘s first choice for activities and events around sport and culture.

because of its very narrow and dense situation on a gap site the project‘s design process is required to happen as daylight optimized as possible. as a reaction to that the six storeys minimize top down to reduce shadowing inside the building.throughout the different storeys various uses, such as a skater park, a market place with market hall, a bistro, a patio, a backyard, a theatre, ateliers with exhibition spaces, a yoga terrace and a sports hall can be found and used individually. the open circulation area connects all these different adventures seamlessly with sightlines and provides a lot of zenithal daylight.

zenithizer follows an approach that focusses on zenith lighting by replacing a conventional roof with a coffered ceiling. this modernist element puts up like a protective shield between all the buildings around and generates a safe shelter underneath.a vertical room of light, almost sacred, is the second strong design element that carries all the zenithal daylight to darker spaces. varying balconies allow to step into this special, room and enjoy the magic of daylight.

the modernist coffered ceiling is complimented by a very traditional element, the brick arch, very well known in this specific area of vienna. together, these two produce an extraordinarily interesting play of light and shadow and create a one of a kind daylight experience inside this community centre. both facades are covered in clear glass bricks with reflective coating, that shimmer in a bright, mystical glance depending on the current day- and sunlight situation given. altogether these design elements create a unique skin for a safe space created for everyone to make it their own.