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ÖBB Spittal, Carl-Wurmb-Weg 4 and 6

Year 2022

Category Housing

Location Spittal an der Drau

Photos Kurt Kuball



Centrally located in Spittal an der Drau, there are several residential buildings in Carl Wurmb Weg owned by ÖBB. The buildings were built in the course of the construction of the Tauernbahn around 1900 and served as housing units for the families of the ÖBB.

The identical large-volume tenement houses form an urban architecturally influential and valuable ensemble.

Two houses with a total of 48 apartments were rebuilt and adapted to the new conditions in order to conserve existing resources and to use buildings for as long as possible: floor plans were adapted, the thermal envelope improved, the heating energy supply switched to district heating, sanitary installations were renewed and the apartments were spatially expanded with balconies.

We understand remodeling as the continuous repair of the city and its houses. Remodeling is not the construction of a house, but something more complex that includes many different forms of change.


     Spittal an der Drau is the capital of the district of the same name, the largest district in Carinthia, and looks back on more than 800 years of history. Spittal is located on an old trade road between Augsburg and Venice. 

     Spittal received a major urban development impulse with the opening of the Tauernbahn in 1909, which contributed significantly to the strengthening of the city as the capital of Upper Carinthia.

     This defining importance of rail transport for the city is also reflected in the name of the “Carl-Wurmb-Weg” – as it is named after Carl Wurmb (*1850, † 1907), who as a railway engineer and later also director played a major role in the development of the Alpine Railways.

ÖBB Wohnbau Carl-Wurmb-Weg 4 und 6, Spittal an der Drau, historische Ansicht der Häuser, Zweiter Weltkrieg

Fig. 1
Buildings with a long history: During the Second World War, bombs fell on the railway houses in the Carl-Wurmb-Weg in Spittal an der Drau. Photo credit: Stadtarchiv Spittal an der Drau

Fig. 2
View Carl-Wurmb-Weg with adjacent railway station and converted houses in the middle of the row of houses

ÖBB Wohnbau Carl-Wurmb-Weg 4 und 6, Spittal an der Drau, Haus 4 vor und nach dem Umbau

Fig. 3
House 4 before and after the renovation


     The residential buildings on Carl-Wurmb-Weg were built as staff apartments in the course of the construction of the private southern railway as well as the state Tauernbahn until the end of 1909. The so-called “Eisenbahner-Häuser” near the Spittaler railway station are thus a piece of “Old-Spittal” and probably the oldest surviving housing estate in the Lieserstadt. 

     4 identical buildings (Carl-Wurmbweg 4, 6, 8 and 10) form a distinctive urban ensemble. Before the renovation, the aging apartments were only about 30-40% occupied.

     As part of a housing development programme - ÖBB has around 4,000 apartments throughout Austria - the company continuously invests in the renovation of employee apartments. 


Step 1 was the examination of the existing building structure. Floor and wall openings were made and analysed in order to be able to estimate the subsequent renovation measures. 

ÖBB Wohnbau Carl-Wurmb-Weg 4 und 6, Spittal an der Drau, Bauteilaufbauten, Decken vor dem Umbau

Fig. 4
Component openings, unexpected condition of the wooden ceiling between 2. and 3rd floor


     The houses are built in the style of the Gründerzeit. Classical buildings with natural stone plinths raised against the ground with facades structured by stucco, which are preceded by allotment gardens.

     Balconies were constructed, which are based on the existing gable extensions. The balconies are outdoor spaces detached from the facade. The joint to the existing expresses respect for the old. The balconies complement the historical ensemble as self-confident towers and as an easily usable extension to the existing in a form language and materiality of today‘s time.

     In the ground floor area the balconies are situated slightly elevated to the Carl-Wurmb- Weg. From the interior you step over a small “bridge” to the balconies. Green spaces can be rented in addition to the rental apartments, an offer that is not available in Spittal again.

ÖBB Wohnbau Carl-Wurmb-Weg 4 und 6, Spittal an der Drau, Wohnbereich vor dem Umbau

Fig. 5
Residential premise before conversion


Existing material structures were removed from the living quarters, a new floor was laid and new doors were installed. The new balconies increase the quality of the apartments. 

ÖBB Wohnbau Carl-Wurmb-Weg 4 und 6, Spittal an der Drau, Keller vor dem Umbau

Fig. 6
The cellars looked dark, cold and unfriendly before the renovation.

ÖBB Wohnbau Carl-Wurmb-Weg 4 und 6, Spittal an der Drau, Innenansicht, Keller neu

Fig. 7
By painting the walls with white paint and installing a warm-coloured screed floor, an inviting and friendly impression of the room was created. Wall and door elements in aluminium form the new room finishes and complement the stock with contemporary materiality.

Fig. 8
site plan

Fig. 9
Floor plan control floor

ÖBB Wohnbau Carl-Wurmb-Weg 4 und 6, Spittal an der Drau, Dachstuhl vor dem Umbau

Fig. 10
Attic before conversion

ÖBB Wohnbau Carl-Wurmb-Weg 4 und 6, Spittal an der Drau, Innenansicht, Dachstuhl neu

Fig. 11
Attic after reconstruction. The roof structures remained unchanged. Material containing asbestos was disposed of professionally and replaced with a new covering. The upper floor was provided with an insulating bulkhead. The heat loss upwards could thus be minimised.

Fig. 12
View Carl-Wurmb-Weg