The Baroness ‘House, which is one of Maribor’s most important Vienna Secession buildings, survived both world wars. The reconstruction of a historic building, such as the Vienna Secession Baroness’ House, encouraged a deep awareness of the revival of elementary human needs during the time of its construction. In the process of revitalization and restoration, the Baroness’ House encourages us, the architects, to carefully deliberate and reflect on basic architectural elements. This extremely ambitious piece of architecture dominates the broader environment with its rich segmentation. Due to its qualities, the Baroness’ House is considered one of Maribor’s most important buildings of the era.
The Baroness’ House was built in the former Koroska suburb located to the west of today’s city center, along Koroska Street. Together with the Graz and Magdalena suburb, it was merged with the city in December 1850, which resulted in large-scale construction throughout the entire area. At this time, the most active architect in Maribor was Fritz Friedriger. In the second half of the previous century, the most famous foreign architects working in Maribor were Richard Jordan from Vienna, Professor Leopold Theyer from Graz and the Czech architect Jan Veyrich.
In 1903, Fritz Friedriger’s company began with initial construction. The house was built for Baroness Emma Mixich Rast and was named after her.
The architecture of the Baroness’ House, which hides a forgotten and dappled sense of beauty, must be read in this context. Each element – be it the doors, staircase, windows, balcony, cobbles or facades – hides its own stylistic, aesthetic and technological manifest. During the reconstruction, each element was subjected to a stylistic reinterpretation, filling the gap between the historical and the modern. The reconstruction followed the principle of preserving original material, as well as its form, colour and texture. The building thus absorbs its elementary material, such as stone, wood, brick, concrete and glass. The main reconstruction principle is the stylistic harmonization of all elements serving the new programme, the subjection of shapes and structures to new functional elements, such as the elevator, interior glazing, courtyard communication and garden, as well as the stylistic refinement which promises timelessness.
The reconstructed Baroness’ House precisely replicates the floor plan of the former bourgeois building, with large adjoining rooms and anterooms bordering a shared hallway on the courtyard side. The structure and colour of the new stone-concrete terrazzo replicates the distribution of the former walls and dividing lines between the private and shared parts of the house. The interior doors and windows with stylistically identifiable shapes and frames have been partially restored. The elevator is located in the area of the former shaft. The transparent shaft of the elevator supplies natural light from the attic lobby. In the attic area, the covered roof above the central part of the hallway and lobby has been replaced with a glass roof illuminating the interior via a secondary ceiling.