Location: Vorarlberg, Austria
Architect: BERKTOLD WEBER ARCHITEKTEN
Architect: Berktold Weber Architekten
Building Company: Alpina Hausbau GmbH
Photographer: Adolf Bereuter
Text provided by the architect:
The mountain plot not far from Bregenz on the slope side of the Mount “Pfänder” offers a sweeping view from the Swiss mountains across the Bregenzerwald landscape to the Bavarian West.
Surrounded by meadows and forests, the family home is not far away. Embedded in this natural backdrop, the detached house of a young couple complements the family plot: Appropriate, compact and focused on the essentials, it blends harmoniously into the natural and cultural surroundings as a quiet building.
“We wanted to concentrate on the space required and be flexible enough for our house to adapt to different phases of life,” was the brief given by the young owners. The task of the design was to translate this into a concept that would also incorporate the existing topography and characteristics of the location. The building nestles into the slope, the different heights are put to provide ground-level access to the house on the upper floor and access to the garden from the lower level. Open spaces that allow communication across the two floors were appreciated to remain close to one another, even when different activities are being pursued in the house.
Accessed from the north-west, the upper living level features a spacious open-plan layout. From the covered entrance area, a small entrance hall leads into the living area: followed by a kitchen with a cozy dining area and a living area facing a terrace: this offers an impressive panorama that can be enjoyed from the sheltered outdoor seating area - a favorite spot of the young couple. Rhythmically placed openings in the house repeatedly capture surprising views of nature. In particular, the large window with bench invites you to linger and conjures up the landscape like a painting inside the room. The lower level creates a direct link to the garden and offers retreat options with various qualities. Sliding elements can be used to close off the terrace, offering a private outdoor space along the footpath that runs past.
The house is a solid timber construction. The façade is rhythmically structured by vertical pine pilaster strips. Different spacing reflects the internal organization of the house and enriches the façade. This results in a lively interplay of light and shadow, openness. The reduced materialization of the house is continued in the interior design: spruce wood and dark sheet steel contrast with the powerful, waxed oak floorboards, while the light interior walls create a calm, relaxed atmosphere. The advantages of a timber construction were used consistently: simple and modular construction, locally sourced, with economical spans appropriate to the timber building. The heating requirements are covered by geothermal energy, complemented by a stove in the living area and a controlled ventilation system. The building was realized by local craftsmen, traditionally committed to timber construction and a high level of contribution and expertise.