Early days, the Vorarlberg School
Dietmar Eberle and Carlo Baumschlager founded Baumschlager Eberle Architects in the Vorarlberg in western Austria in 1985. In the early years their work bore the unmistakeable stamp of the region’s traditional woodworking techniques. During this period, alongside more conventional family homes, they made their first innovative designs for the low-rise, high-density developments that were to attract international attention.
New directions, approach and methodology
As the firm’s portfolio gradually expanded to include commercial and office buildings and large-scale residential developments, principles such as corporate responsibility, economy, the conservation of resources and social acceptability assumed a major role in their vision of the planning and design process. Research on building and facade typologies became a central element in their working method.
International acclaim, foreign expansion
The 1990s saw the start of the firm’s international development as projects like the Munich Re headquarters building and the redevelopment of Vienna airport drew attention and recognition from outside Austria. In 1999, Baumschlager Eberle opened an office in Vaduz, Liechtenstein in addition to their Austrian base in Lochau. In 2001, they added a third location: Vienna.
Increasing complexity, sophisticated tools
The firm continued to grow, winning design competitions and direct commissions as a result of their specific expertise. The new UNAIDS building in Geneva and the Moma towers in Beijing paved the way for offices in Beijing (2003), St. Gallen (2006) and Zürich (2007). As building projects and the processes they involved became more complex, the firm developed their own sophisticated project management and control tool, the Project Book, with its stringent quality assurance and sustainability requirements.
International and local, from individual offices to a holding structure
A presence on the ground helps architects understand local cultural contexts and meet the specific needs of clients. This local approach eventually led to the opening of further international bases, as the firm developed a network of independent offices in Hong Kong (2009), Berlin (2010), Hanoi (2011), Paris (2012), Hamburg (2013), and to the creation of subsidiaries in Saigon (2015) and Shanghai (2016). Following the departure of Carlo Baumschlager in 2010, and in the face of continued internationalisation, the firm was reorganised as a holding structure.
Baumschlager Eberle Architects currently has ten permanent offices in Europe and Asia, all with strong local links. The team consists of some 196 staff members from 21 countries communicating in 19 different languages.