This Loft With a Stunning Staircase Looks Like a James Bond Villain's Lair

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By Michele Koh Morollo
A warehouse in Austria is transformed into a futuristic loft apartment with a striking, sculptural concrete staircase.

On the outskirts of the Austrian city of Salzburg, architecture studio Smartvoll transformed a warehouse used to repair tanks during wartime into Panzerhalle—an indoor food market with restaurants and event spaces on the first level, and a beauty parlor on the second level. 

But the building's crowning glory is located on the third and topmost level—Loft Panzerhalle is a fantastical multi-purpose apartment dominated by a massive staircase that flows into passageways and rooms on the loft’s upper level. 

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A sweeping concrete staircase leads the the upper levels of Loft Panzerhalle.

A sweeping concrete staircase leads the the upper levels of Loft Panzerhalle.

The ceiling is made from wooden planks painted white. 

The ceiling is made from wooden planks painted white. 

Smoothed and waxed concrete shapes the interior. 

Smoothed and waxed concrete shapes the interior. 

To ensure that the 3,767-square-foot loft has uniformly bright interiors, Smartvoll left the upper ribbon window free, and distributed the bedroom, bathroom, and guest room along this area. 

A floating bookshelf lies across from the sleeping area.

A floating bookshelf lies across from the sleeping area.

The sculptural staircase appears to be carrying all the rooms on the upper level.

The sculptural staircase appears to be carrying all the rooms on the upper level.

A custom-made bed frame by Inform Tischler.

A custom-made bed frame by Inform Tischler.

"Through the stair sculpture, which spans across the rooms, you do not see the way between the levels as a vertical, functional connection, but rather as an electric spatial experience," says one of Smartvoll’s founders, Christian Kircher. 

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The loft is illuminated by Molto Luce Spots Turn On 110 lighting.

The loft is illuminated by Molto Luce Spots Turn On 110 lighting.

The staircase branches out to hug both sides of the loft's upper walls.

The staircase branches out to hug both sides of the loft's upper walls.

A glass box shower.

A glass box shower.

A lava stone block kitchen counter.

A lava stone block kitchen counter.


At the heart of the space, on the lower level, is a monolithic, 23-foot-long kitchen island with planters incorporated along one side.

Alias Kobi Lounge chairs.

Alias Kobi Lounge chairs.

A planter along one side of the lava stone counter.

A planter along one side of the lava stone counter.

The undulating stairs divide the floor plan and create a roof over the kitchen. Recessed areas carved into the staircase allow daylight to reach the lower level. "This allows you to stay in motion—and to see everything from everywhere," says Kircher. 

A Zen rock garden on one of the balconies with a Vitra Tip Ton chair.

A Zen rock garden on one of the balconies with a Vitra Tip Ton chair.

A glass-encased shower block cantilevers 16 feet above the main level. 

A glass-encased shower block cantilevers 16 feet above the main level. 

Kircher refers to the mammoth staircase as "architecture within the architecture."

A contemporary fireplace.

A contemporary fireplace.

"Concreted in-house, the engineering is being exhausted in all respects. A tender object with minimal dimensions, but tremendous spatial impact. Besides the concrete, only subtle, semi-transparent materials are being used, such as Profilit, to separate the guest areas, curtains for the bedroom, or integrated furniture, like a hanging steel shelf. Every other piece of furniture seems to be integrated into the construction. The result is an unalterable picture, which celebrates only free space," he says. 

A corner shower stall.

A corner shower stall.

A BetteLux Silhouette bathtub.

A BetteLux Silhouette bathtub.

The floor plan for Panzerhalle Loft, and a sectional drawing of the Panzerhalle Market complex with the loft at the top.

The floor plan for Panzerhalle Loft, and a sectional drawing of the Panzerhalle Market complex with the loft at the top.

Project credits:

Architect of Record: Smartvoll / @smartvoll

Builder: Spiluttini

Structural Engineer: Marius Consulting ZT gmbh