Building Designer Homes on Vienna's Steepest Slopes

Profiled Firm: Livingpool Architecture & Design |  Location: Vienna, Austria
Modern home at dusk

Klaus Heissbauer founded Livingpool Architecture and Design in Vienna, Austria, in 2001. Today, he leads a team of five architects who focus mostly on private housing projects, including family homes and loft conversions. Heissbauer likes to experiment in his CAD software, where he can blend his love for architecture with smart technology.

Sharing Vectorworks with Others

Heissbauer’s proficiency with Vectorworks® came after other CAD programs he tried as a student in Vienna left him unimpressed. “I was unable to develop my skills the way I wanted to,” he recalled. So he began to search for alternatives. He customized his use of the software, which enabled him to work intuitively. The Viennese architect has been an enthusiastic user ever since. 

After graduating from the Vienna University of Technology, Heissbauer began working with Vectorworks software as a professional architect. He also started supporting its development, demonstrating its features to colleagues and offering training to Vectorworks users in Austria as a partner of ComputerWorks GmbH, Vectorworks’ distribution partner in Germany.

He achieved those goals by founding his first company, unlimited software KG, which he still operates along with his architecture firm. It is a special challenge for Heissbauer to get customers enthusiastic about Vectorworks, as well as to plan, draw, and build his own projects. “First, I have to take the program to its limits and beyond to answer as many customers’ questions as possible,” he explained. “Second, it is exciting to be involved with the software’s growth,”

top plan of house

Vectorworks accelerates the work enormously and in no way leaves room for misunderstandings with contractors.

Klaus Heissbauer, Founder, Livingpool Architecture and Design

Unspoiled Views

Heissbauer has an investigative nature that can be seen in the renovation he did of his own residence, Project Home. The challenge: A neglected house from the 1960s built on one of the steepest slopes in Vienna. The goal: To remodel the house to meet today’s space and comfort needs and complete it in less than 12 months. 

Heissbauer was able to measure the complicated building site quickly and smoothly in Vectorworks Architect software. “Due to the complexity of the building geometry, the 3D visualization tools in Vectorworks were a big help,” he said. “The difference between the rendering and reality was minimal because we did a lot of detailed modeling work.” 

There was an 18-meter height difference from the highest to the lowest point of the property, which created an extremely steep slope. “The hillside situation of the project was very complex, so the Vectorworks Digital Terrain Model was therefore decisive for the design.” 

The remodel was completed in 10 months with a pre-scheduled planning period of just four months. And, in addition to construction planning, all of the important detail work was designed and planned in 3D and built using Vectorworks — from the carport to the wood paneling of the stairwell.

outdoor balcony overlooking Vienna

Vectorworks Proves Vital for Next Project

Heissbauer uses CAD in all planning phases of his projects. In fact, he jumped right into the software when tasked with designing a single-family home with an integrated office and standalone garage in Amstetten (Lower Austria). “We plan everything in Vectorworks, starting with the first drawings to detailed design plans, site plans, and comprehensive blueprints for the builders on site,” he explained. 

“Vectorworks accelerates the work enormously and in no way leaves room for misunderstandings with contractors,” said Heissbauer. “Even for private homes, it is important to keep costs from suddenly exploding. Misunderstandings and time delays can get very expensive. This makes it all the more important for lay people to properly understand the plans and for them to be highly legible.” 

Having a well-crafted set of plans is also crucial for building professionals. “How drawings are structured and organized is very logical in Vectorworks,” said Heissbauer. “With the activating and deactivating of classes, a plan can contain information for all contractors. If a basic structure is slightly modified, this can be seen directly by all parties involved in the construction work. And even the legibility of the blueprints is always ensured due to simple class activation and deactivation.” 

Whether a single-family home or a project for demanding customers, one thing Heissbauer knows for sure is he has no intention of switching programs. “We are, and will remain, loyal to Vectorworks,” he said.

Images courtesy of Klaus Heissbauer, Vienna