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Sustainable Architecture in Vorarlberg

Energy Concepts and Construction Systems

Ulrich Dangel

Basel Boston - Berlin

This book is also available in a German language

edition : Nachhaltige Architektur in Vorarlberg ,
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ISBN: 978-3-0346-0119-1


Map of Voralberg



The Timber House - Traditional Houses Sustainable Management of Resources

Tradition and Future

The Province ofVorarlberg Architecture Today

100 Community Center Ludesch


108 Housing Development Fichtenweg,

Sustainable Paradigm
Hermann Kaufmann

Elementary School Doren

Lessons from wood

Cukrowicz Nachbaur




Compactand Cost-Efficient
Hans Hohenfellner

Ski Lodge Schneggarei, Lech am Arlberg

Buildingon Traditional Values

Katia Schneider + Gerold Schneider,
Allmeinde Architektur, Philip Lutz


Parish Church St. Ulrich, Gotzis

118 Housing Development

Retaining Regional Value

Johannes Kaufmann

Let There Be Light

Christian Lenz


Sandgrubenweg, Bregenz

Sustainable Living
Gerhard Horburger, Helmut Kuess,
Wolfgang Ritsch, Norbert Schweitzer

RUscher Residence, Schnepfau

Reinterpreted Vernacular
Oskar Leo Kaufmann, Albert RUf


124 Secondary School Klaus-Weiler-Fraxern

Passive House Sets the Standard
Dietrich Untertrifaller

Community Center Obersaxen

Tough on the Outside, Soft Inside

Matthias Hein


Olperer House, Ginzling

Low Energy at High Altitude

Hermann Kaufmann


Community Center Raggal

133 Construction Systems

Vernacular Timber Construction Change inTradition - ANew Era
142 Housing Development MUhlweg, Vienna

Craft and Materiality

Timber - The Carpentry Trade Craft Culture

Exporting Expertise
Hermann Kaufmann + Johannes Kaufmann

150 Hugo Kleinbrod Chapel, Lustenau


The Church Comes to the People

Hugo Dworzak

Community Center St. Gerold

Compactand Coherent
Cukrowicz Nachbaur


154 Tschabrun Logistics Center, Rankweil

All About Wood
Christian Lenz

Metzler Residence, Rankweil-Brederis

Living on the Water

Marte Marte


158 Hospital Dornbirn

Floating Featherweight
Gohm & Hiessberger


Customized Prefabrication
Oskar Leo Kaufmann, Albert RUf


Natural Building
Planungsgemeinschaft Lehmhaus:
Roger Boltshauser, Martin Rauch


164 Nordwesthaus, FuBach

Light and Shadow
Baumschlager Eberle

Rauch Residence, Schlins

Gasthof Krone, Hittisau

Old and Newin Harmony

Bernardo Bader


Biography, Acknowledgements
Illustrat ion Credits

Over the last thirty years, the small Austrian province of Vorarlberg has made a name
for itself with its contemporary building culture. Widely considered a unique phenomenon throughout Europe, Vorarlberg has not only established its own regional identity,
but also serves as a role model far beyond its own borders . The apparently universal
consensus among local architects to use reasonable means and resources is paired
with a relentless search for the most sensible, functional, and cost-efficient design
solutions. The employment of innovative materials and construction principles, the
integration of the latest technologies, and the development of new building products
playa particularly important role. Rooted in the population's ingenuity, this pragmatism,
simplicity, and rationality has resulted in a high number of exemplary buildings which
almost appear to be an unintended byproduct of a thoughtful and sophisticated problemsolving process. The harmonious collaboration between architects, craftsmen, clients,
and the local authorities continues to produce new architecture which is progressive,
energy-efficient, and sustainable, and has earned Vorarlberg a widely admired reputation
in the international design community.
Although I was raised in southern Germany, only about two hours from Vorarlberg, my
introduction and exposure to its people and culture came several years later, ironically
after I had moved away to the United States. Growing up, I was influenced by Swabian
diligence and thrift from my German father's side - traits that can be readily found in
Vorarlberg due to its geographical proximity. My mother's Austrian heritage contributed
temperament and persistence, and also instilled my close affinity to her home country.
This was complemented by my architectural education at unlversitat Stuttgart, which
sparked a strong interest in building technology, including structure, assembly, materials,
and sustainability. It appears that with my upbringing and educational background, it
was only a matter oftime before Vorarlberg's architecture would attract my attention.
Since my first visit, I have been captivated by the "Land le" and its people. I have been
particularly intrigued by Vorarlberg's vernacular tradition and craft, and how they have
contributed to the development of a distinctive contemporary architectural language.
Without claiming to be complete, this book is an attempt to give an overview of the
region's architectural history and culture. Despite the fact that Vorarlberg is facing
many of the same environmental, social, cultural, and economic issues as other parts
ofthe world, the province has developed its own unique response which I believe could
serve as inspiration to others . I hope that the reader will forgive the tendency to idealize
the phenomenon in vorarlberg, which is still considered by many to be a paradise for
Ulrich Dangel
Austin, Texas, Spring 2009

Elementary School Doren
Cukrowicz Nachbaur
Kirchdorf 2, 6933 Doren
ski Lodge schneggarei
Katia Schneider + Gerold Schneider,
Allmeinde Architektur, Philipp Lutz
Tannberg 629, 6764 Lech am Arlberg

Parish Church St. Ulrich
Christian Lenz
HauptstraBe 15, 6840 Gotzis

ROscher Residence
Oskar Leo Kaufmann , Albert ROf
6882 Schnepfau
Community Center Obersaxen
Matthias Hein
DorfstraBe 2, 6830 Obersaxen
Olperer House
Hermann Kaufmann
Dornauberg 110, 6295 Ginzling
community Center St. Gerold
Cukrowicz Nachbaur
FaschinastraBe 100, 6722 St. Gerold

Metzler Residence
Marte Marte
CluniastraBe, 6830 Rankweil-8rederis

17 -


Oskar Leo Kaufmann, Albert ROf
Jahngasse 9, 6850 Dornbirn
Rauch Residence
planungsgemeinschaft Lehmhaus :
Roger Boltshauser, Martin Rauch
Torkelweg 17, 6824 Schlins

Gasthof Krone
Bernardo Bader
Am Platz 185, 6952 Hittisau
Community Center Ludesch
Hermann Kaufmann
RaiffeisenstraBe 56, 6713 Ludesch
Housing Development Fichtenweg
Hans Hohenfellner
Fichtenweg , 6780 Bartholomaberg-Gantschier
Community Center Raggal
Johannes Kaufmann
Raggal 31, 6741 Raggal


Housing Development MOhlweg
Herma nn Kaufmann + Johannes Kaufmann
MOhlweg, 1210Wien
Hugo Kleinbrod Chapel
Hugo Dworzak
SchOtzengarten straBe 21,6890 Luste nau
Tschab run Logi stic s Cente r
Christ ian Lenz
BundesstraBe 102, 6839 Rankweil

Housing Development Sandgrubenweg
Gerhard H6rburger, Helmut Kuess,
wolfgang Ritsch , Norbert Schweitzer
MariahilfstraBe rra-d , 6900 Bregenz

Hosp ital Dorn birn
Gohm & Hiessberger
Lustena uer StraBe 4, 6B50 Dornb irn

Secondary School Klaus-weiler- Fraxern
Dietrich Untertrifaller
TreietstraBe 17, 6833 Klaus

Nordwesth aus
Baumschlager Eberle
HafenstraBe t a, 6972 FuBach




Elementary School Doren
Lesson s from w ood
Cukrowicz Nach baur
Ski Lodge Schneggarei, Lech am Arlberg
Building on Trad ition al valu es
Katia Schneider + Gerold Schneide r.
All meinde Architekt ur, Philip Lutz
Parish Church St. Ulrich, Gotzis
Let There Be Light
Christian Lenz
ROscher Residence, Schnepfau
Reinterpret ed Vernac ular
Oskar Leo Kauf ma nn. Albert ROf
Community Center Obersaxen
Tough on th e Outsid e, Soft Insid e
Matthias Hein
Olperer House, Ginzling
Low Energy at High Altitude
Hermann Kaufm ann

12 Tradition and Future

The Province of Vorarlberg

1 Bizau and Reuthe in th e Bregenzerwald regio n

Page10 t op : Day Care Cent re . Landegg
(Fink Thurnh er Archit ekte n)
Page 10 bottom : Gast hof Adler. Schwarze nberg.
renovat io n 1991 (Hermann Kaufm ann)

Located on the northwestern slopes of the Austrian Alps and bordering the countries of
Germany, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein, Vorarlberg is the second smallest Austrian
province, but also the second most densely populated after Vienna. Its population of
368,000 [I) is hardly even that of a medium-sized European city, and inhabits an area of
roughly 2,600 square kilometers [IIJ. Vorarlberg is geographically closed off from the rest
of Austria, and the only connections to the neighboring province of Tyrol are provided
by three surface roads, as well as the railroad and street tunnel through the Arlberg
mountain. Due to its isolated location, most of the province's population speaks a
distinctive German dialect which many of the country's other inhabitants find hard to
understand. It is similar to the Alemannic dialects spoken in Switzerland, Liechtenstein,
the Alsace region in France, and parts of southwestern Germany, whereas the dialects
spoken in the rest of Austria form part of the Bavarian-Austrian language group. Many
towns and villages even have their own distinct sub-dialects.
Vorarlberg is an alpine region and extremely mountainous, and therefore offers unfavorable conditions for int ensive farming. [1-2) It also does not possess any significant
valuable natural resources. For centuries, the land could not feed the population, and
the younger generations were sent abroad as seasonal workers to the more prosperous
neighboring countries. The province had a strong rural agricultural tradition, but it
experienced an early industrialization at the beginning of the nineteenth century,
particularly in the field oftextile manufacturing. The rise of the textile industry had its
origins in the traditional production of linen, and benefited greatly from the craftsmanship and skill set of the farming population, which in turn became heavily involved in the
home-based manufacturing of industrial textiles and other goods. Up to the nineteenth
century, Vorarlberg was sparsely inhabited, and its population was mostly homogeneous. The regulation of the River Rhine, the construction ofthe railroad, and the use of
water-power gave the province a basis for its own economic growth, and also led to an
influx of foreign labor, particularly from Italy and Turkey. [IIIJToday, Vorarlberg is the most
heavily industrialized region of Austria , but it produces with the lowest energy consumption. About 96 percent of the province's electricity is generated from hydroelectric
power, with the III valley being the center of power production. [IV) Ofthe 169,000 people
employed, only 3 ,000 still work in farming and forestry, but 67,000 work in textile,
electrical, and machine manufacturing, and construction. [v] The per capita production
of export goods is four times higher than in the United States or Japan , and is only
surpassed by Switzerland.


2 Font anella , Sonntag a nd Raggal in t he Grea t w a lser Va lley

14 Tradition and Future

Due to Vorarlberg's size, it might come as a surprise that the emergence of its contemporary and innovative architecture over the last three decades is unparalleled in
Europe. Deeply rooted in the region's longstanding tradition of building craft, a number
of pioneering architects have established a strong technical, cost-efficient, and functional vocabulary that has evolvedinto a unique architectural culture . Today, this exclusive
setting serves as a laboratory in which architects and craftsmen search for a symbiotic
connection between a specifically regional architecture on the one hand, and a progressive architectural formal language on the other. In addition, they explore the
relationship between technology and ecology, as well as between housing needs and
the requirements ofthe industry.
Architecture Today

Vorarlberg's contemporary architecture is a result of unprecedented regional development. As a continuation of a movement that started in the 1960s, the local architects
have worked systematically over the last three decades to establish expertise in
technology, cost efficiency, and functionality. Their work is not based on purely
aesthetic aspects, but primarily focuses on infl uences from today's construction industry
and manufacturing technology. Spaces are conceived through an exploration and integration of structure, assembly, and function , and not through short-lived superficial
formalisms . Concepts are grounded in structural efficiency, maximum use of minimal
resources, usability, and the client's needs which results in simple, yet very functional
spaces. This sophisticated simplicity should not be misconstrued as being plain or
basic, and is best described using German architect Heinrich Tessenow's words: "The
simplest form is not always the best, but the best is always simple."
The initial group of architects was fundamentally opposed to a formal regionalism based
on misunderstood tradition. Their intention was not to replicate traditional forms , but
to translate and update traditional processes and principles. As a result , architects and
craftsmen together have been successful in finding a contemporary answer to the
continuation of the local timber building tradition. Vorarlberg's architecture is unique in
that it encompasses extremely modern tendencies such as the promotion of modular
living accommodation or the use ofthe latest industrial building components, without
ignoring or abandoning traditional construction skills and housing typologies of the
region. The harmonious juxtaposition of old building stock with contemporary interpretations proves that it is possible to respect tradition while at the same time not rejecting
contemporary life. [3-5 )


Apartment building Lechblick (Christian Lenz)

5 sturz Residence, Dalaas (Gohm Hiessberger)

4 Fire and Mountain Rescue Station, Mellau (Dietrich Untertrifaller)

16 Tradition and Future

6 -8

SU-SI Build ing System (Jo hannes und Oskar Leo Kaufm ann)


Initially, this critical discourse involved small-scale private projects which allowed the
architects to easily test ideas and concepts. The invaluable knowledge gained through
this experience enabled them to successfully transition to working with investors and
public authorities on more complex and larger public commissions. [VI) This unique development was not the product of the architects alone. Enlightened clients, a climate of
open discussion, the cooperation ofthe authorities, and a broad consensus on aesthetic
qualities and energy consumption have contributed to the appreciation and promotion
of contemporary and sustainable architectural principles at all levels of society.
Thetraditional carpentry trade has successfully made the transition to modern fabrication
techniques, and plays an active and important role in the planning and design process
by setting extremely high standards of workmanship. Today, there are many open-minded
timber manufacturers that have a vested interest in cooperating with architects in order
to improve and promote their building products. Prefabrication plays a very important
role, but it is rooted in the carefully crafted customization of the carpentry trade, rather
than inexpensive industrialized mass production. [vlIl Many manufacturers offer entire
prefabricated kit houses, which have been developed in collaboration with architects. [6-8J
Dueto the decline of traditional farm ing, many centuries-old timber structures throughout the region became redundant and were, until recently, thoughtlessly demolished.
At the same time, the postwar building stock from the 1950S and 1960s is starting to
reach the end of its service life since envelope and energy systems no longer meet current
building codes. The new generation of architects has become increasingly engaged with
the sensitive renovation and adaptive reuse of many of these old buildings while at the
same time addressing concerns of ecology, sustainability, and the conservation of
resources. The refurbishment and upgrading of these valuable historic structures to
today's building standards presents technical challenges and demands creative design
solutions. [VIII] The labor-intensive and sometimes difficult restoration and conservation
process keeps traditional craftsmanship skills alive, contributes to the creation of highly
specialized expertise, and introduces new technologies to the field of historic preservation. The "Landle," as Vorarlberg is affectionately called by its inhabitants, has managed
to develop new architectural customs and craftsmanship practices by successfully
building on its vernacular past.

AmI der Vorar lberger t.andesregierung. t.andest el te fur

tausur . Bevo/kerung okwell (www. .
December 20 0 8 )

Statistik Austr ia . http://www.s ta tls tik al/web_de/Red lfect/

Index.hlm?dDo CNam e 022 138 \ Regio no/e G/iederungen
Bundes/lind er (www.s taustik .at. 01.01.2008) .


III See Otto xapfi nger. "The Vora rlbe rg School of Arcnu ecture."
In Ott o xapfinger. ConsUuctiv e Provocar ian: Contemporary
Arch it ect ure in varar/berg. e d. by Vor arlber ger Arch it ekt ur ins titut (Sa lzburg: verl ag Anton Pust et . 2003). 22.

IV AmI der vor artb erger t.andesregie ru ng, Abt. Allgemeine

Wirtschaftsangelegenheiten. Bereich Energie . fne rgiebericht
200B ( o ctobe r 20 08 ).12 .
V Wirt schaltskammer vorar lber g, varar/berg in Zah/en .
Ausgabe 2008 (www.wko .at/vlbg. 2008) . 8.
VI Otto xapflnger, Baukun st in vorarlberg serr 19BO. f in
Fiihr er l U 260 sehenswerte n Bouten (Ostfild ern Ruit : Ver lag
Gerd Hatje . 199 9).6.
VII Traugott Zech. Hollbauten in Vorar/berg . f ine
Dokumentation der letllen 20 Jahre (Feldkirch: Rheticus'
Gesellschalt . 1985). 7.
VIII See 0110 xapfinger, -New Spa ce s in Arch ite cture,"
in Cansuuctive Provocation . 85.


Elementary School Doren

Cukrowicz Nachbaur

Lessons from Wood

The small community of Doren is part of the Bregenzerwald region, a mountain range of
the Northern Limestone Alps. Most of the working population in this part of Vorarlberg
is employed in tourism and agriculture, although the latter workforce is rapidly decreasing due to the large variety of job opportunities in the nearby Rhine river valley.
Doren's new elementary school is on a steep hill site in the center of the village. Directly
adjacent to the church, rectory, and municipal offices, it offers panoramic views of the
surrounding mountain ranges. The building's program, consisting of a gymnasium, day
care, four classrooms, two workshops, a multipurpose space, and a teacher's lounge,
proved to be a challenge to fit on the extremely small site.
With their proposal for a hard-edged, compact building volume, architects Andreas
Cukrowicz and Anton Nachbaur-Sturm beat 17 other firms to win a design competition
held in 2001. Their design combines all functions on five levels, taking advantage of the
sloped site to reduce the building's overall height. At first glance, the new elementary
school seems to mark a break with the rural building tradition of the Bregenzerwald
region. However,the new building completes the ensemble of church, community center,
and school, and restores the spirit of the place .
Thesolid structure plays with ideas of rotation and superimposition of layers in a horizontal and vertical fashion. Each individual story frames a different view of the landscape
beyond, and this change of direction creates appealing spatial relationships within the
simple volume. The steep hillside allows the building to have entrances on multiple
levels and establishes two main orientations: the gymnasium entrance on the lower

1:150 0

20 Elementary School Doren

level faces south and addresses the square, while the main entrance is located on the
level above facing the church to the east. Large south-facing windows in the classrooms
allow views of the alpine mountain ranges in the distance . The building's compact
nature minimizes the circulation areas for the benefit of the programmatic functions. A
space-saving windowless staircase connects all levels and leads to generous hallways
which house the pupils' coat racks and also allow classrooms to spill out for projectrelated activities.
Thearchitects did not follow the 3 .20 m minimum room height requirement as mandated
by Vorarlberg's school construction guidelines, but decided to reduce it by 10 percent
to 2 .90 m. This reduction was only approved by the authorities following the introduction of a mechanical ventilation system, since the mandatory typical room height was
merely based on natural window ventilation principles. As a result, this significantly
contributed to decreasing the school's overall volume and its impact on the surrounding
buildings. Lined with a natural stone wall, the newly established village square serves
as a schoolyard for the pupils, and at the same time becomes the community's new
social and cultural focus where events and festivities are held .

According to architect Markus Cukrowicz, "pastor, mayor, and teacher still command
respect and hold positions of power." He states that with the design of the new elementary school, they "picked up on the old tradition that the buildings for these three pillars
of society in the rural Bregenzerwald region are usually built out of solid materials."
The building's exterior walls are made of loadbearing fair-faced concrete. Two interior
concrete walls on each level subdiv ide the floor plan. By spanning the entire depth of
the building, they function as floor-to-ceiling beams and support the story below. A
large opening in each beam allows horizontal circulation on each level. The goal was to
accommodate the project brief on the small site within a compact envelope, a clear
span, and without the need for any additional interior columns .






I i )

J iIi


[.I ,

Roof. U = 0.11 W!m ' K
50 mm gravel fi ll
Two-pl y PE membrane for uv protection
Two-ply bitum inous roofing membrane
50 mm polyurethane rigid thermal insulat ion
250 mm polystyrene rigid thermal insulati on
Foil-lam inated vapor barr ier
Prot ect ion mat
0- 140 mm concrete bed. laid to fall
300 mm reinforc ed concrete slab
50 mm services cavity
30 mm sheep wool acoustic insulation
Acoustical mat . black
40 mm silver fir str ips. spaced at 15 mm

Exterio r wall . U : 0.18 W!m' K
300 mm reinforced concrete
100 x 50 mm horizontal furr ing strips with
100 mm mineral wool thermal insulat ion
100 x 50 mm vertica l furr ing st rips with
100 mm mineral wool t hermal insulation
in- between
12 mm orie nted str and board
Vapor ret arder
37 mm furring str ips with services cavity
in-bet ween
21mm silver fir boards. planed

27 mm silver fir floorboards , fine -sawn
45 mm timbe r floor j oist s with mineral wool
insulat ion in-bet ween
128 mm raised floor
300 mm reinforced concrete slab
30 mm sheep wool acoust ical insulat ion
Acoustical mat, black
40 mm silver fir str ips. spaced at 15 mm

22 mm epoxy cement floor ing or coco
floo r mat
70 mm screed with int egrat ed underfloor
heating system
vapor retarder
20 mm impact sound insulation board
35 mm bed of bonded sto ne chipp ings
140 mm reinforced concrete slab
185 mm services cavity
30 mm sheep wool acoustica l insulation
Acoustical mat, black
25 mm perforated medium density fiber board

300 mm waterproof reinforced concrete
100 x 50 mm horizontal furr ing str ips with
100 mm mineral wool t hermal insulati on
100 x 50 mm vert ical fur ring strips with
100 mm mineral wool ther mal insulation
12 mm orie nted stra nd board
37 mm furr ing strips wi t h services cavity
in-bet ween
19 mm medium density fiberboa rd

15 mm epoxy cement flooring
70 mm screed with int egrat ed underfloor
heating system
vapo r ret arder
20 mm impact sound insulation board
100 mm expanded polystyrene rigid
t hermal insulat ion
4 mm bit uminous felt
300 mm reinforced concrete slab


22 Elementary School Doren

24 ElementarySchool Doren

2nd floor /












Ground floor

West elevation




o=J I

South elevation 1:400



Reinforced concrete is only used where it has a structural application. It is seen on the
building's facades and on the interior, where it becomes part of the building's spatial
experience. The cold and hard surfaces of the loadbearing concrete structure are complemented by the use of wood for all non-loadbearing building components. Wall, floor,
and ceiling finishes, as well as the built-in furnishings, are made of native silver fir, and
reference the local material and build ing craft tradition . For the first time in an Austrian
school, the architects were able to persuade the regulating authorities to approve the
use of untreated interior wood surfaces: the walls are planed smoothly, and the floors
are fine-sawn .
In order to minimize expansion and contraction, the highest grade of silver fir was chosen
for the flooring. The selected rift-sawn boards have been cut perpendicular to the tree
rings, which guarantees a relatively uniform grain pattern and makes the boards more
stable than plain-sawn lumber. In addition, the wood underwent an elaborate manufac turing process that involved several drying stages to ensure that the floor would not
deform and generate gaps and cracks over time. Maintaining the untreated wooden
floors has proven to be easy, which has even impressed the public health officer.
According to the school's janitor, the floors are vacuumed once a week and are mopped
with water twice a year, which allows them to retain their inherent natural beauty and
pleasant smell. Untreated silver fir floors can be found in historic churches throughout
the Bregenzerwald region, and serve as a convincing example that its application has
been successful for centuries.
The minimized formal language and reduced material palette identify the five-story
school as a contemporary building. Its flat roof juxtaposes the nearby church's Baroque
clock tower and the gabled roof ofthe municipal office building. The architecture is unapologetic and purposely denies any traditional references. Instead of evoking typical
childhood connotations as might be expected in the design of a school, the architects
focused on a clear formal language and the use of well-crafted and carefully detailed
materials. Various surface finishes stimulate the pupils' senses and invite interaction
with the building. Most importantly, the restrained aesthetic does not detract from the
daily school activities. Cukrowicz Nachbaur have successfully created an environment
conducive to learning.
Energy Concept

The compact school building has an optimized surface-area-to-volume ratio which

minim izes the potential for heat loss. A biomass-powered heating plant is located
underneath the plaza facing the church , and also supplies several of the neighboring
houses in the village with heating energy. The system is able to reduce the building's
CO, emissions through the combustion of wood pellets that are typically made from
compacted sawdust and are a byproduct of the timber industry. A mechanical ventilation
system replaces the prevalent practice of natural ventilation, and prevents excessive
energy losses through improper window operation by the building's users.
Many locals aired concerns during the planning and construction phases of the project.
After the school's opening ceremony, however, this initial skepticism was quickly put
aside. Overall, the community is rather pleased, and has praised the harmony and
coherence that is apparent between the building's interior and exterior appearance.


Ski Lodge Schneggarei, Lech am Arlberg

Katia Schneider + Gerold Schneider, Allmeinde Architektur, Philip Lutz

Building on
Traditional Values
Thevillage of Lech am Arlberg was founded in the fourteenth century by Walser migrants
from the canton of Wallis in Switzerland. The region's slopes served as the basis for the
local dairy and livestock farmers' sparse existence for hundreds of years, and were discovered to be ideal for skiing in the early twentieth century. Today, Lech has grown to
become one ofthe world's premier ski destinations. However, tourism has transformed
the little mountain village into an agglomeration of disparate buildings which are no
longer rooted in the local building tradition. Today's building stock reflects superficial
and diluted alpine building forms, which try to appeal to the mass of visitors and their
apparent expectations of a cozy and rustic experience .
The ski lodge is located in the center of the village, near the base station of one of the
ski resort's chair lifts. There was a lot of controversy at the beginning of the building's
design and planning process, but initial opposition from the local administration was
eventually overcome. The Schneggarei is an attempt to reinterpret the traditional mountain hut, which was historically the most basic building type to provide room and board
in the alp ine region. The clients, a well-established family of hoteliers, wanted a rustic
design, but one that was a bold contemporary interpretation of the regional building
tradition , and not one that would be a continuation of the alpine kitsch architecture
that clutters Lech and many other neighboring ski resorts. The aggressive efforts ofthe
tourism industry to create a stereotypical picture of alpine living have resulted in many
poorly designed built examples claiming to cater to the needs of the tourists, while at the
same time glorifying a false sense of tradition. It appears that Vorarlberg's contemporary


28 Ski Lodge Schneggarei, Lech am Arlberg

- =0
- 0

Roof, U - 0.22 W!m'K

350 x 30 mm silver fi r boards wit h
waney edges. ship lapped
100 x 100 mm purl ins
waterproofing membrane
25 mm timbe r decking
100 x 100 mm purlins
Sarking membrane
30 mm timber decking
280 x 260 mm silver fir roof beams
with thermal insulation in-between
30 mm timber decking
Furring strips
30 mm rough -sawn silver fir boards
with waney edges, shiplapped

-----\.0 1--

Exterior wall, U 0.24 W!m'K
110mm silver fir siding boards with
40 mm furring str ips
20 mm sheathing boards
180 mm t imber framing wi th thermal
insulation in-between
20 mm sheathing boards
30 mm rough -sawn silver fir boards
with waney edges, shiplapped



30 Ski Lodge schneggarei , Lech am Arlberg


1st floor



Ground floor 1:20 0



and innovative architecture has hardly left any impression on the ski resort over the last
three decades. The new lodge stands out through its remarkable simplicity, clean lines,
and minimal detailing. Its design is based on the belief that there are many possibilities
for a rustic but contemporary int erpret at ion of the region's traditional timber architecture. The building acknowledges the tourists' legitimate search for authenticity, a sense
of place, and Gemutlichkeit, but tries to address these desires skillfully through the use
of materiality and space rather than the mere surface application of pseudo-traditional
With its minimal and modest design features, the Schneggarei fits in well with Vorarlberg's internationally acclaimed timber architecture, while at the same time fulfilling
the requirements of a contemporary ski lodge. The guest areas are separated into an
open bar and dance floor zone on the ground floor, and a more secluded restaurant on
the upper level. Visually connected by a double-height space, both floors offer seating
for approximately 120 guests. A vertical volume made of tamped concrete extends over
both levels and houses two open fireplaces as well as the ventilation system. The main
staircase wraps around this concrete mass and leads to the upper floor, where a continuous counter lines the perimeter of the void, offering good views of any activity
below. A shallow south-facing terrace invites guests to sunbathe.
construction and Energy Concept

Great care was taken to design a contemporary and sustainable building which reflects
the return to the roots of the alpine building tradition . Locally harvested and processed
solid sawn lumber was used almost exclusively in the lodge's construction, and every
effort was made to minimize cut-off waste. The majority of the building materials were
sourced locally, which allowed any added value to be retained in the region. The small
amount of heating energy needed to operate the building is provided by a ventilation
system with heat recovery which is connected to the municipal biomass-powered
district heating system.
The prefabricated timber-framed structure is clad in heavy rough-sawn silver fir boards
on both inside and outside, giving the entire building a rustic appearance . All timber
elements used are untreated and retain their waney edges, which means that they show
a portion of the original log surface from which they were cut. The exterior cladding
boards are lapped at the corners using a joining method reminiscent of the traditional
Strickbau technique, which is similar to log construction and literally means "knitted
building." The horizontal strip windows have sliding shutters of unfinished silver fir and
feature neither hardware nor weather-stripping. Throughout the space, rustic but
extremely simply detailed furnishings and fixtures allow guests to experience and
appreciate the local material tradition and craftsmanship. All interior surfaces, as well
as the basic furnishings, are made of the same unfinished silver fir, giving the lodge
interior a robust, yet warm charm.
The goal of the project was to combine the local building tradition and a sense of place
with today's modern design and contemporary lifestyle. The ski lodge successfully illustrates how this approach can lead to the creation of harmonious, compelling, and highly
memorable spaces. A bold reinterpretation of traditional values, the Schneggarei is a
beautifully crafted contemporary building that is authentic and rustic at the same time .


Parish Church St. Ulrich, Gotzis

Christian Lenz

Let There Be Light

The catholic parish church St. Ulrich in G6tzis was completed in 1865. Over the course
of the twentieth century, several improvements were made to enrich the building:
stained-glass windows by artist Martin Hausle were added, artist Mila Bjelik-St6hr
designed the rose windows, and the sculptor Herbert Albrecht contributed main and
side altars. Extremely low light levels inside the church almost rendered these works of
art invisible, making it difficult for visitors to appreciate or indeed even experience their
presence. The entire parish consists of approximately 7,600 members, and two services
a week are held in the orlginal soo-seat church, attracting on average about 200 to 300
people . From recent experience, a full church can only be expected on high religious
holidays or special occasions such as First Communion and Confirmation. In addition to
the reduced number of visitors, the interior of the church did not conform to certain
liturgical guidelines devised during the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s. The
redesign should cultivate the cooperation between priest and congregation, dissolve
spatial barriers, and bring individual parishioners closer together.
After several years of discussions, architect Christian Lenz was finally commissioned to
carry out the renovation in 2005. His proposal for a complete remodel was intended not
only to improve the quality of the spaces inside, but also to bring light into this place of
worship. The development of a suitable solution to improve the natural daylighting
conditions within the church proved a difficult decision -making process. Many people
expressed their objections to the solution of introducing narrow vertical light slits. For
the most part, however, this scheme has now been accepted by everyone involved.



34 Parish Church St. Ulrich , G6tzis

Exterior and Interior Concept

As part of the comprehensive remodeling project, the design concept of the church
grounds provided new paved outdoor areas specifically dedicated to the building itself.
Raised from the street, the new church square is accessible through a set of wide stairs,
while benches and outdoor lighting provide an inviting and comfortable environment
for lingering. Long concrete planters line the square on three sides and mediate any level
changes, providing a suitable setting for service-related outdoor events such as Easter
Vigil and agape. By leveling the outdoor areas, the side entrances to the transept and
the sacristy now allow disabled visitors easy access to the church . A new sacristy space
was added on the southeast corner of the church to match the original sacristy on the
north facade, thus completing the symmetry of the floor plan : Entirely made out of fairfaced concrete, the new addition opens to the outside through three south-facing glass
doors and a narrow east-facing window. The bright and radiant color scheme employed
on the exterior facades is also continued inside the sanctuary.
The guiding idea for the interior renovation focused on the liturgical space as defined by
the crossing of nave and transept. The main altar was relocated to this point of intersection
and now relates equally to the adjacent spaces, while the entire altar area was lowered,
rising just four steps above the nave. The trad itional pew layout along the outer walls
was consolidated in the center nave and leaves the side naves completely open. This reduction in seating reflects the fact that the number of churchgoers is dwindling in today's
society. The transept now also contains pews, thus placing the altar in the center of the
sanctuary. Loose seating in the form of chairs is located in the apse, keeping the space
flexible for future activities. The new seating arrangement positions the congregation
close to the altar, offers ideal visual and acoustic relationships, and allows active participation during service. The solid oak pews rest on an oak floor and form an "island"
within the interior space. The same motif is repeated in the gallery, which - appearing
like an oversized drawer - consists of a wooden volume extending into the sanctuary.
To improve daylighting conditions, narrow 200 mm wide light slits were cut into the
massive 1 m-thick exterior walls, which proved to be a technical challenge. Their slight
asymmetric arrangement in relationship to the valuable stained-glass windows above designed by artist Martin Hausle - avoids any type of rivalry. Due to the considerable
wall thickness, the light reflected from the deep window reveals plays an important role
in the illumination scheme . This minimal intervention makes all elements within the
sanctuary visible and serves to illuminate the circulation areas, following the visitor
throughout the entire church. The quality of light entering through the slits facilitates
the gradual transition to the dimly lit main nave, contributing to the mystic ism of the

Material and Energy Concept

Architect Christian Lenz drew inspiration from the solid construction of the church and
the objects he found inside to arrive at his material selection. Just three different materials
- stone, wood , and metal - contribute to create a harmonious and distinct palette. The
floor surfaces of the sanctuary, the sacristy, and the community room were covered
with polished 500 x 500 mm Solnhofer limestone slabs laid out in a checkered pattern.
The floor finish below the pews and the gallery extension are all kept in solid oiled oak.
All the furnishings including the pews, the confessional, the sedilia, and the chairs in
the apse are also made of oak. Inspired by the existing travertine altar which had been
designed by sculptor Herbert Albrecht of Wolfurt, Christian Lenz combined travertine


and bronze to create the valuable and high-quality liturgical accessories includ ing
tabernacle, ambo, baptismal font, sanctuary lamp, stoup, and offertory box.
All of the technical equipment in the church was replaced and skillfully integrated into
the existing spaces. The building is heated through a radiant floor heating system
supplied by the municipal biomass-powered heating plant. The sacristy, community
room, and youth club space are heated to 20C, the altar area is heated to l2C, and the
remaining spaces are kept at lOC. All pews are equipped with electric infrared heaters.
At the intersections of the ceiling vaults, down lights are recessed into circular openings
to illuminate the main nave. The column capitals support uplights for lighting of the
vaults above, while down lights in the corners brighten the column shafts below. The
.close collaboration between Christian Lenz, the client, and the building committee
allowed the successful completion of a project this size, complexity, and quality. By
strengthening the building's already powerful architecture, the architect's goal was to
create a light-filled and inviting place of worship which would bring the congregation
closer together. The limited number of subtle design interventions provides the church
with an unpretentious and natural elegance.


. ..-


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I" floor , : 500



Riischer Residence, Schnepfau

Oskar Leo Kaufmann, Albert Riif

This single-family home is located on a sloped site at the main thoroughfare through
Schnepfau, a little village in the Bregenzerwald region. Like many new timber-framed
houses in this area which is renowned for its sophisticated woodworking trade, this
project is the result of a close collaboration between the architect and the client, who
owns a millworking company. The client's parents' house was originally located on the
site, which was tight and presented a lot of constraints. The steep slope also made it
challenging for the architect to fulfill the family's desire for bright, light-filled spaces
with a generous open living, dining, and kitchen area. Another important requirement
was the physical connection of the new family home to the immediately adjacent millwork shop. The building's exterior borrows from the local vernacular architecture. The
simple volume with gabled roof, covered patio, and wood cladding reflects traditional
building elements to be found throughout the region. The house is laid out on three
levels. The entrance, garage, laundry, and storage spaces are on the ground floor. The
next story houses the open kitchen and living area, as well as a home office which also
doubles as a guest bedroom . With vast amounts of glazing, this floor opens up to the
street and the impressive mountain views in the distance . A covered patio and outdoor
space serve as a buffer between the private home and the millwork facilities and extend
the usable space ofthe main living level. The bedrooms and bathrooms on the top floor
are purposely kept private and secluded.


38 ROscher Residence. Schnepfau

Roof, U = 0 .21 W/m'K
Standing seam metal roof
Waterproofing membrane
18 mm or iented strand board
60 mm ventilated cavity
22 mm fiberboard
100 mm thermal insulati on
210 mm prefabricated solid timber panel .
consisting of individual layers of spruce and
fir boards, joined with hardwood dowels
Exterior wall . U = 0.21 W/m'K
18 mm oak siding
40 mm horizontal furring strips
40 mm vert ical furring strips
35 mm fiberboard
220 mm mineral wool thermal insulation
200 mm reinforced concrete . fair-faced
fi nish to inside
22 mm larch slats
46 mm furring str ips
5 mm neoprene pad
Waterproofing membrane
5 mm PE mat
20 mm vacuum insulation panel
5 mm PE mat
Vapor barr ier
Coat of bitum inous paint
250 mm reinforced concrete slab
30 mm furr ing strips
12 mm plywood board

250 mm reinforced concrete slab. polished
finish on top, fair-faced fin ish to underside

175-160 mm precast concrete element,
fair-faced finish
Exterior wall, U = 0 .27 W/m'K
drainage mat
120 mm extruded polystyrene thermal
insulat ion
250 mm waterproof reinforced concrete,
fair-faced finish to inside
20 mm spruce floorboards
60 mm screed
100 mm extruded polystyrene thermal
250 mm waterproof reinforced concrete slab
60 mm gravel bed

- .~ I

20 mm spruce floorboards
148 mm reinforced concrete slab
212 mm prefabricated timber panel,
consisting of indiv idual layers of spruce and
fir boards, jo ined with hardwood dowels

Exterior wall, U = 0 .21 W/m'K
18 mm oak siding
40 mm horizontal furring strips
40 mm vertical furring strips
35 mm fibe rboard
306 mm prefabricated timber panel,
consisting of individual layers of spruce and
fir boards . joined with hardwood dowels
11 mm ventilated cavity
200 mm reinforced concrete
Ceramic tiles

Exterior wall, U = 0 .27 W/m'K
drainage mat
120 mm extruded polystyrene thermal
250 mm waterproof reinforced concrete
120 mm services cavity
2 x 12.5 mm gypsum board
Ceramic tiles

10 mm ceramic tiles
235 mm reinforced concrete slab
100 mm thermal insulation

9 - -.

250 mm reinforced concret e slab.
polished finish
100 mm thermal insulation


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40 ROscher Residence. Schnepfau

The building's architecture with its gabled roof blends into the surrounding context, but
at the same time, its construction principles present an unconventional departure from
traditional timber-framed houses. Resting on a fair-faced concrete plinth, the walls,
ceilings and roofs of the upper levels are made of prefabricated solid timber panels.
These panels consist of eleven layers of spruce and fir boards, which add up to an overall
thickness of 310 mm. The construction system is innovative in the sense that it relies
solely on beech-wood dowels to hold the individual boards together. No glues, solvents,
or metal fasteners are used. All building materials used for the assembly of the prefabricated panels are environmentally friendly and can be fully recycled. Further, the client
attached great importance to untreated surfaces and honesty towards the building's
materiality. This is reflected in the use of solid and single-layered building elements
without further addition of final floor and wall finishes . All wooden walls, ceilings, and
roofs are made of single-leaf solid timber panels that are not only loadbearing, but also
fulfill several other performance requirements. The structural engineer and architect
worked closely together to solve the building's structural challenges . In order to create
an open living area without the interruption of columns, only 2.5 m of the top level rests
on the concrete staircase core, while 5.5 m cantilevers freely over the living room and
outdoor patio .
Due to the choice of construction methods, the routing of all plumbing and electrical
services had to be determined before construction began. All switches and electrical
outlets had to be located during the planning phase, since every wall and ceiling surface
consisted of either fair-faced site-cast concrete or a prefabricated timber panel. Any
additional changes to the service installations on-site would not have been possible
without severely compromising the project's minimal aesthetic and were therefore
avoided at all cost. This requi red a lot of upfront coordination by the consultants on the
one hand, but on the other hand made the actual construction phase much more efficient,
since all these matters had already been addressed and resolved early in the project.


tst floor 1:250

2" floor

3' floor


The exterior surface ofthe prefabricated timber panels is made of untreated oak boards,
which are sanded smooth and installed without any visible joints. Over time, the wooden
facades will weather turning a soft gray, and will blend in with the ground floor's fairfaced concrete finish , creating the impression of a monolithic building volume . For the
design of the built- in furnishings and furniture, the architect continued the close collaboration with the client, who was extremely interested in a continuation of the minimized
material palette inside the house. The interior finishes are limited to concrete and wood,
which are merely oiled and free of any lacquers and solvents . Spruce was used for the
walls and ceilings, the floors consist of polished and oiled concrete or spruce floorboards, and all furniture and built-ins are made of oiled oak.

Energy Concept
The residence is heated by a wood-chip heating system located in the adjacent millwork
shop. The 310 mm -thick solid timber wall panels have excellent thermal properties and
provide a U-value that makes any additional insulation unnecessary. Heating costs of
the new building are 55 percent of those of a conventional timber-framed house since
the walls provide a high thermal mass. The wood panels are able to store large amounts
of heating energy during the day and slowly release it back to the interior through the
evening and night. The thermal storage capacity of the exterior walls also prevents the
home from overheating in the summer, which is a common problem in conventional
timber-framed houses.
The prefabricated timber panel system offers the advantage of reduced on-site con struction time, excellent fire -rating and acoustics, as well as improved indoor air quality
through the absence oftoxic glues and solvents. The absorption and release of moisture
is delayed, allowing the panels to aid in regulating the interior climate. Further, the solid
timber walls have the added benefit of blocking most of the potentially harmful electromagnetic radiation such as wireless phone signals. All of these aspects contribute to
the creation of a comfortable and healthy home.


Community Center Ubersaxen

Matthias Hein

Tough on the Outside,

Soft Inside
The hillside village of Obersaxen overlooks the River Rhine and offers unique views
across the entire valley, ranging from Piz Buin to Lake Constance. In 2002, the small
community of approximately 600 inhabitants decided to hold a design competition
with the goal of remodeling the existing community center and school building. The
scheme would also provide the village with a new multipurpose event space and central
square. Among the invited participants were not only ten established architecture
offices, but also two young and up-and-coming firms . One of these was architect Matthias
Hein, who emerged as the winner of the two -stage competition and was hired for the
design and planning of the project.
Important and critical design criteria included taking advantage of the site's spectacular
views, embedding the new building into the small-scale village fabric, and retaining an
existing single-family residence located on the site designated for the future square,
which would be implemented in the second phase of the project. The scheme involved
the refurbishment of the existing community center and school building from the 1960s,
containing municipal offices, the elementary school, a day care center, as well as meeting
rooms and gathering spaces for clubs and other organizations. The client wanted a
rearrangement of these spaces and the creation of separate entrances in order to segregate the individual functions, which would allow each one to operate independently
and without interference. The new addition houses a multipurpose event space, the
library, and a spacious bar.



44 Community Center Obersaxen

Even though the new building is a dark gray, the elevation facing the village square
appears small in scale and unobtrusive. To preserve the single-family residence and to
minimize the building's impact on the scale of the surrounding fabric, the architect
decided to bury auxiliary program elements underneath the new square. Embedding
the large multipurpose space into the ground reduces the building's volume and does
not obstruct the spectacular views. The building's actual scale can only be experienced
from the west elevation which faces the valley. Views and lighting are directed through
the building and correspond to the sloped terrain . Through an extensive glass facade,
the interior opens up to a large green outdoor space which can be used for community
events. Additional functions including a library, bar, and cloakroom are combined in a
long and narrow single-story volume . In conjunction with the remodeled community
center, the L-shape configuration defines the edges ofthe square and provides the new
addition with a presence on the village's main street.
Three and a half years after completion of the first phase, the single-family residence
was demolished to make room for the implementation of the entire village square design.
Following proposals by architect Markus Cukrowicz, the large-format sandblasted
precast concrete pavers were continued across the whole square, seating elements
were installed, and Japanese cherry trees were planted, which will frame Obersaxen's
center in a bold pink when they bloom in the spring . The space now provides access to
all functions of the two buildings, and offers room for curricular and extracurricular
activities, as well as community events.

The design of the hard-edged cubic building volume of reinforced concrete was derived
from the village's name - evolved from the Latin word saxum, which means stone or
rock . This became especially evident when more rock had to be blasted out of the
ground than expected during excavation for the new addition. The concrete mixture
used contains 7 percent dark gray pigment and has a rough and porous finish, similar to
pervious concrete commonly found in road construction. No contractor in the area had
any experience with this type of concrete, and many experiments and trials were conducted to correctly evaluate the effect of the retardant, which was applied to the inside
of the formwork and was responsible for the creation of the grainy surface texture.
The site-cast concrete structure appears simple at first glance, but proved to be a
challenge for the experienced engineers because of the arrangement of the openings
and the choice of relatively slender columns. Asa result, the columns were prefabricated
out of high-strength concrete, while the roof consists of 320 mm deep hollow core slabs
that span 13 m. Supporting the externally insulated slabs on the walls with internal
insulation was equally difficult.
While the building's shell appears rough and hard on the outside, the inside reveals
more refined surfaces. The interior of the multipurpose space is dominated by warmer
and softer finishes, achieved by using various grades of oak. A darker, rustic, more figured species is used for the flooring; lighter, smoother parquet is applied to the walls;
and the ceiling is clad in very light colored and plain perforated veneered panels.
Through this variation of finishes, the architect breaks the uniformity of the material
and is able to place an emphasis on the darker flooring surfaces. During evening events,
the light reflected from the wooden interior is visible from afar and creates an inviting
atmosphere . The surface finishes in the subterranean auxiliary spaces are kept bright
white with the exception of a black mastic asphalt floor. This emphasizes the impression




2n d floor 1:60 0


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Ground floor


46 Community Center Obersaxen

Roof. U 0.293 W/ m' K

50 mm gravel fill
PE roofing memb rane
300 mm rigid insulati on. laid to fall
Vapor barrier
320 mm hollow core rein forced concrete slab
200 mm suspended acoustica l ceili ng

Exterio r wall. U 0.22 w /m 'K

280 mm reinforced concrete. texture d fin ish
2.80 mm mineral wool insulat ion
Vapor barr ier
270 mm services cavit y for ventilation duct s
60 mm framing
20 mm par ticle board
10 mm oak parquet

Floor. U - 0.326 W/m'K
22 mm oak parquet
Noise protection membrane
20 mm raised floor
26 mm flexible beams
26 mm spacers
10 mm elastic bearing pad
Vapor barr ier
80 mm mi neral wool insulation
13mm leveli ng bed
8it uminous wat erproofing membrane
250 mm waterproo f reinforced conc rete slab
50 mm concrete mud slab

10 mm oak parquet
20 mm part icle board
60 mm fram ing
330 mm services cavity for ventila tion d uct s
60 mm framing wit h mineral wool insulat ion
2 .12 .5 mm gypsum board


. .....
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-l/;j H~------- -

-- - - - - - - -





Floor. U 0.283 W/m'K

30 mm masti c asphalt
70 mm screed and im pact sound insulat ion
Vapor barr ier
92 mm bed of bond ed polystyrene beads
8ituminous wat erproofing membrane
250 mm waterproof reinforced concrete slab
50 mm concrete mud slab

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of an artificial, windowless space in order to facilitate wayfinding through the building.

All doors , windows , and furniture are made of oak or have a white finish .
The main feature ofthe multipurpose space is its tremendous flexibility, since it can be
transformed from a gymnasium into an event space within fifteen minutes . One of the
end walls can be folded down with cable winches to create a stage surface . The necessary stage equipment such as lighting, curtains, and reflectors can be slid out on tracks
that are recessed in the ceiling. During normal gym operation, the wall bars in front of
the full-height windows protect athletes from any potential injury, but can be slid back
behind the stage during special events. Even the game line markings can be covered up
with a synthetic flooring surface that can be set up in a very short space of time. The
'gym-li ke' atmosphere often encountered at school plays, concerts, and other special
events can therefore be avoided . Custom shatterproof lighting fixtures are mounted
flush in the ceiling and contain light sources suitable for sporting events, dimmable
bulbs for special occasions, as well as emergency lighting. This allows for a range of
lighting levels and types without the visual clutter of a large number of different lighting
fixtures . Air ducts are kept completely out ofthe ceiling plane and are contained within
the walls, which allows a suspended ceiling build-up of just 200 mm, reducing the
building's overall height to a minimum.
The existing community center's concrete frame structure with hollow core slabs was
able to remain, even though several structural walls had to be removed and were
substituted with concealed steelwork. However, the building's windows and heating
system were in poor condition, and the thermal properties of the envelope did not meet
current building codes. New full-story-height glazing elements replace the old infill
wood panels and windows, and an exterior insulation finish system has been applied to
the facade to provide a tight and well-insulated enclosure. The building's plinth previously housed auxiliary spaces and was without any window openings. By rearranging
functions on the inside, the lower level was opened up to provide each space with a
relationsh ip to the outside. Existing finishes are complemented by new materials: the
hallway floors are made of artificial stone, oak parquet has been laid in the classrooms,
and the walls and ceiling are painted white. Doors, windows, and furniture are made of
oak. A new elevator provides access to all levels for visitors with disabilities.
In conclusion, this successfully completed project serves as an excellent example ofthe
numerous courageous and motivated clients to be found in Vorarlberg . Many of them
put their faith in young and emerging architects like Matthias Hein, giving them the
opportunity to secure and implement ambitious design commissions .



Olperer House, Ginzling

Hermann Kaufmann

Low Energy at
High Altitude
For over a century, a refuge for hikers and mountain climbers has existed in this exposed
location . At an elevation of 2,389 m, the site offers breathtaking views of the surrounding
glaciers and peaks of the Zillertal Alps and the Schlegeisspeicher reservoir in the valley
below . Refurbishment of the existing building was not a viable solution so in 2005 the
decision was made to replace it with a new structure.
New construction at this altitude presents a challenge when it comes to dealing with a
building's energy consumption. First and foremost , the main goal was to create a suitable
shelter rather than a self-referential architectural statement. Responding to the existing
conditions with a modest design proposal, architect Hermann Kaufmann won the invited
competition by advocating " innovat ion through simplicity." Consisting of a compact
volume, the new building is not a spectacular piece of architecture competing for
attention. Rather, it is tuned to the high alpine climatic conditions and is in harmony
with its surroundings. The structure is an appropriate response to functional and programmatic requirements and provides simple accommodation for mountaineers. The
ground floor houses the storage spaces, kitchen, and the dining area. A large panoramic
window affords spectacular views of the reservoir below and the mountain peaks
beyond. The basic guest rooms for overnight stays are located on the upper level.



50 Olperer House. Ginzling

Building at this altitude used to and still does heavily depend on the availability of construction materials. Over a hundred years ago, the existing refuge had been built using
stone readily available at the site . Back in those days, the labor-intensive construction
of heavy masonry walls was considered a suitable solution since the transportation of
large amounts of building materials up the mountain from the valley was not feasible .
Technological advances in the construction industry and the introduction of modern
means of transportation such as helicopters have changed the approach to construction
in the high alpine environment.
For the construction of the Olperer House, prefabrication techniques in combination
with large-format laminated timber panels offered a cost-effective solution which
allowed for easy transportation and fast on-site assembly of individual building
elements. The building materials, including some 350 prefabricated components, were
delivered to the site by helicopter in 913 flights. The entire building was assembled
within three days. The main goal when designing the new refuge was to develop a simple
structure in which the range and quantity of individual components was purposely kept
to a minimum . The architect sought "innovation through reduction," which is successfully reflected in the clarity of the structural concept and its harmonious relationship
with the layout of the interior spaces. Replacing the existing structure, the compact
new building with its pitched roof cantilevers 2.5 m over a retaining wall towards the
reservoir in the valley below . This concrete wall, which also forms the outdoor terrace,
was backfilled with the debris from the demolished original building and has been clad
with the local stone found at the site . The two-story structure above consists entirely of
laminated spruce timber panels which range from between 125 and 176 mm in thickness
and are up to 11 m in length . These prefabricated elements were used for the walls , floor
slabs, and even the pitched roof surfaces.
The exterior timber panel walls on the ground floor function as story -height beams and
are tied back into the foundation in order to reduce the loads on the building's cantilevered section. The balustrade below the large panoramic window is suspended between
these two walls and in turn carries the floor slabs ofthe dining area. The interior wall in
the center runs the entire length of the building and provides continuous support for
the roof plane. Both the floor slabs and roof panels function as shear planes and brace
the structure. The timber panels' unique loadbearing and insulating properties provide
both the structural support and thermal insulation for the entire building. Since the
house is only operated between mid-June and mid-October, no additional insulation
was necessary. To protect the laminated timber panels from the harsh weather, all
exterior surfaces including the roof are clad with untreated larch shingles. Over the next
several years, these wood shingles will weather and turn a silvery gray, causing the
building to blend in even further with its rocky surroundings. During the winter months,
hinged shutters protect the windows while removable panels are used to cover up the
massive panoramic window. On the inside, the aesthetic qualities of the exposed timber
surfaces create a warm and comfortable atmosphere.


S2 Olperer House. Ginzling

Ground floor 1:400

1" floor

2nd floor




- 4

: ....

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PVpanels above copper roofing

Larch shingles
24 mm timber decking
100 mm furring strips with ventilated
cavity in-between
Roofing membrane
176 mm laminated spruce timber roof
panel . underside exposed



--tllHl l


42 mm spruce laminated veneer lumber

= =


166 mm loadbearing laminated spruce
timber panel

25 mm solid larch folding shutter.
smooth finish

Wood window frame with double glazing
148 mm laminated spruce timber floor
panel . both sides exposed



94 x 160 mm laminated timber beam


Spruce shingles
148 mm laminated spruce timber wall
panel . inside exposed


50 mm larch grating
Fireproof joint with two 200 x 27 mm and
one 110x 27 mm screw-fixed laminated
veneer lumber boards

166 mm laminated spruce timber floor
panel . top side exposed

94 x 160 mm laminated timber sill beam

60 mm rigid insulation
8ituminous waterproofing membrane
200 mm reinforced concrete wall


1: 50


54 Olperer House. Ginzling


Energy Concept
The architect's innovative energy concept envisioned an extreme reduction of the
building's energy consumption . Through the extensive use of wood, the house is
extremely durable, fully recyclable, and possesses low embodied energy levels. In the
absence of any infrastructural improvements, the building's orientation takes advantage of any solar gain. Since the structure is only occupied during the summer, it was
possible to reduce the mechanical services to an absolute minimum .
The building's low-tech nature provides comfort levels which are commensurate with
the visitors' expectations. The daily electricity demand for the so-bed house is a mere
29 kwh: 14 percent of this is met by photovoltaic panels on the roof, while 86 percent is
generated by a combined heat and power plant which runs on rape seed oil and is
necessary for water purification. For every 1 kWh of electricity produced, the plant
discharges 2 kWh of waste heat which is used to heat the shower rooms, the kitchen,
and the dining area. This is supplemented by a tiled stove which for the next several
years will be fired with timber retained from the demolition of the original structure .
The circulation spaces and guest rooms remain unheated while operable windows
provide natural ventilation . A small, completely insulated support structure is located
next to the main building and serves as an auxiliary shelter during the winter.
The Olperer House's architecture responds appropriately not only to the site, the local
climate, and the seasons, but also to the requirements of contemporary alpine tourism.
Today's mountaineers are educated and extremely aware of the fragile environment
that surrounds them. The simplified existence in the mountains is considered to be a
welcoming distraction from the technology-dependent routine of everyday city life. The
new building successfully demonstrates that a low-tech approach can go further in its
efforts and achieve remarkable energy-efficient results that a high-tech solution might
not necessarily be able to offer.


ra tan

ateria tty
Community Center St . Gerold
Compact and Coherent
Cukrowicz Nachbaur
Metzler Residence. Rankweil-Brederis
Living on the Water
Marte Marte
Customized Prefabrication
oskar Leo Kaufmann, Albert Ruf
Rauch Residence. Schlins
Natural Build ing
Planungsgemeinschaft Lehmhaus:
Roger Bolt shauser, Martin Rauch
Gasthof Krone. Hittisau
Old and New in Harmo ny
Bernardo Bader

58 Craft and Mater iality

One third ofVorarlberg is still covered with forest . II] As early as the Middle Ages, forests
in mountainous areas were identified to fulfill important protective functions . Located
at high altitudes above settlements, they serve as effective measures against avalanches
and landslides. The effects of pollution today, and the resulting forest dieback, are a
global problem, but are proving to be particularly disastrous for alpine regions.

1 Cut lumber
page 56: Assembly of a glulam structure

In the past, timber logging was also part of the carpenter's responsibility. A large
structure like a church or monastery could consume entire forests, and the craftsmen
themselves would go and select healthy and straight trees for construction. The preferred time for logging was in the winter when the trees contained the least moisture. In
the summer, freshly cut logs would keep their crown for a while, allowing the foliage to
aid in removing any moisture from the tree . When harvesting the timber, close attention
was also paid to the phases of the moon, which according to old myths influenced the
cut wood 's durability. [1]
A long and thorough drying process minimized potential shrinkage cracks and protected
the wood from insect and fungal infestation. The carpenters would then mill the logs
and turn them into lumber for construction. [sJ Flourishing sawmills put an end to the
close relationship the carpenters had established with the material as a result of manual
processing. Timber for construction was now cut cost-effectively by the mills and readily
available for purchase. However, in some remote valleys and settlements, carpenters
and farmers retained the old manual timber-processing techniques into the 1950S.
Vorarlberg is not only densely wooded, but it also possesses numerous creeks and
rivers which facilitated the installation of water-powered sawmills. up to the nineteenth
century, almost every village owned at least one sawmill, and many farmers shared
communal facilities close to the forests they owned. Improvements to the infrastructure and increased motorization in the twentieth century signaled the end for smaller
mills, and only the larger and more efficient ones were able to survive. However, new
manufacturing techniques such as the production of engineered wood products and
concrete formwork opened up new markets and export opportunities for sawmills and
carpentry businesses throughout Vorarlberg. [11]


60 Craft and Materiality

The Carpentry Trade

Carpentry is one of the oldest and most important building trades and forms the
foundation of Vorarlberg's architectural culture. [3J Individual master craftsmen could
reach the highest social status as citizens of cities and rural communities. The trade
was organized in guilds which regulated the profession and determined how master
craftsmen, journeymen, and apprentices lived together. The guilds controlled pricing
and the quality of completed work, and prevented fraudulent activities, as well as
excessive competition. Besides determining the rules of conduct, they were also religious
associations . Precise regulations established the apprentices' education during their
three-year training period and dictated god-fearing and honorable lifestyles. A final
practical exam concluded the apprenticeship and consisted of either a building or a
model , the so-called journeyman's piece. [41 This was followed by a three-year journey
which the apprentice would use to become familiar with other parts of the world and
new working methods. The rules were very strict, and the journeymen were not allowed
to come home during that time, nor could they work on the same building site for more
than six months. Guild houses were located across Europe, and even today journeyman
carpenters can be seen traveling in their guild attire, wearing a black corduroy vest and
bell-bottomed pants, and a wide-brimmed hat. The collaborative work in the field and
the shared life in the guild houses fostered a strong sense of belonging and community,
and has allowed the carpentry guilds to survive to this day.

3 From the first standard reference book for carpentry.

A,chireclura civilis von Johann Wilhelm. 1668

Since Vorarlberg was a poor province with few significant commissions, most of the
work by Vorarlberg craftsmen was, in fact, performed abroad. The guilds were able to
exploit the building boom after the devastation of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) .
Between 1650 and 1800, craftsmen from Vorarlberg constructed several hundred large
projects in southern Germany, Switzerland, Alsace, and Bohemia. As a result, not only
were Vorarlberg's journeymen traveling, but the entire guild was on the road. Some
villages reported that during the building season between March and October, nearly
go percent ofthe male population was working away from home. Vorarlberg's Baroque
master builders designed many churches and monasteries, and some of the best examples can be found in Birnau and Weingarten in Germany, as well as Sankt Gallen and
Einsiedeln in Switzerland . Famousbuilders such as FranzBeer and Peter Thumb became
very wealthy and settled in larger cities such as Constance.
Up to the nineteenth century, carpenters were not only craftsmen, but as master builders,
they also fulfilled the role of architect and engineer. Industrialization brought new tasks,
such as the design and construction of concrete formwork; but generally, the carpenter's
responsibilities diminished significantly. The tools of the trade had remained virtually
unchanged between the Middle Ages and the twentieth century, when manual labor
was increasingly replaced by power tools and the use of machinery. [III]


4 Carpen ter apprentices with their journeyman's pieces , Leiblach tal, ca. 1920

5 Carpenters shape a beam with thei r broad axes, Horb ranz , 1906

62 Craft and Mater iality

Craft Culture
The guilds initially only included carpenters and bricklayers, but later expanded to
accept members from other professions such as stonemasons, plasterers, wood sculptors, and painters, and in the mid-nineteenth century they were opened up to all other
building trades. While many of the guilds have since been dissolved or lost influence,
the individual trades and their traditional craft skills have successfully survived over
time. The resurgence of Vorarlberg's craft culture towards the end of the twentieth
century can only be understood within the context of its contemporary architecture.

6 upholstering of chairs in Andelsbuch

7 Manufacturong of furniture in Reuthe

The revival of timber construction techniques in the 1960s through a number of young
architects including Hans Purin and Rudolf Wager led to a renewed self-confidence for
many building professions. In their search for a new language, these pioneering architects were not only inspired by the local vernacular, but also revisited the region's
tradition of high-quality craft. Carpenters in particular benefited from this change,
since they regained the responsibility for the construction of entire houses after
decades of having been relegated to the mere installation of roof structures.
Today, the relationship between architects and craftsmen is based on mutual respect:
each side appreciates what the other is capable of and contributes to the process, at
the same time realizing where their own expertise ends. While the craftsmen appreciate
the fact that the architects are reality-based and are interested in designing functional
buildings, the architects in turn can depend on the craftsmen's willingness to collaborate
and rely on the exceptional quality of their completed work. Many architects come from
families with a strong tradition of craft or have been trained in one of the building trades
themselves and can relate to the immediate tasks and issues at hand. Both professions
collaborate to preserve and advance traditional skills, and also develop and test new
fabrication techniques. This is supported by a client base that considers craft to be an
important and integral part of everyday life and is open to unconventional variations of
traditional building typologies, as well as innovative concepts and ideas. The resulting
symbiotic relationship has merged design, craft, and industry, and has contributed to
the establishment of a regional identity which has charged the building trades with new
This is particularly evident in the Bregenzerwald region, which is home to many influential
guilds and famous master builders of the past. Early on, the local craftsmen recognized
the potential of collaborating with architects. Despite their excellent manufacturing
and material processing skills, they realized that they were in need of creative stimulation
in order to reinvigorate the various trades. This insight prompted a number of craftsmen
to launch the design competition "Craft and Form" in 1991, which was motivated by the
fact that the guilds' activities had significantly decreased over the previous two
decades. The trades were considered to be outdated compared with larger companies
which were employing increasingly industrialized mass production processes. Society
no longer regarded being trained in a trade as a profession with future potential, which


in turn discouraged young adults from pursuing craft-related careers. Within this context, the design competition served as a strategic initiative to signal innovation and
reinvigorate the trades. (IV) The public presentation of the competition results attracted
a lot of attention among the local population and media, and succeeded in sparking the
renewal of all craft-related professions in the years ahead.
Supported by an initiative of the Vorarlberg government with the intention of strengthening the region, the Bregenzerwald craftsmen finally united to form the association
"Werkraum Bregenzerwald" in 1999. Today, most of the over 90 members are innovative
businesses related to the construction industry, including carpenters, millworkers,
metalworkers, electricians, and plumbers. The organization's paramount goal is to raise
awareness of the trades, to promote high-quality local products, and to support training
of the next generation of craftsmen in order to ensure the continuation of traditional
skills while securing a qualified workforce for the future. The design competition "Craft
and Form" is held every three years and allows the individual trades to present their
latest achievements. Through this, the craftsmen have been able to establish ongoing
relationships with architects and designers, and continue to benefit from this close
collaboration. Representing an alternative to global mass production, products are
manufactured in small-scale family-owned businessesand fulfill the highest expectations
with regard to form, function, and workmanship. The commitment to both a new
aesthetic and local tradition has resulted in a high level of regional identity and selfconfidence among the population. The craftsmen's work has significantly contributed
to the development of a contemporary architectural language which promotes sustainable practices for working, living, and building. [2.6 -9]

8-9 Laminated lumber fabrication in Reuthe

I Amt der vorarlberger Landesregierung. Forstwesen
( March 2009).
Rudolf sagrneister, Holzboukunsl in vorarlberg
(8regenz : verlag Eugen Russ. 1988). 15.
III Ibid .. 7.

IV Claudia Schwartz . "Die ideale wechselbeziehung :

Architektur und Handwerk im Bregenzerwald sind Teil eines
gesamtkulturellen Phanomens", in Bauwell. 2006. June 2,
v. 97. n. 22, 16.


Community Center St. Gerold

Cukrowicz Nachbaur

Compact and Coherent

The small rural mountain community of St. Gerold is located on the steep south-facing
slopes of the Great Walser Valley. Spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding
mountain ranges characterize the village . Historic buildings can be found in immediate
proximity to the site for the new community center: the listed school house is across the
street, and the Benedictine priory of St. Gerold is situated downhill. Taking advantage of
the terrain, the building's tall volume connects the street level to the existing playground which is located just below. The community center's compact program is stacked
vertically over four stories and consists of a day-care center, a play room, the village
store, a multipurpose space, and the municipal offices . The placement of individual
program elements was based on the frequency of their use as well as their connection
to exterior spaces. The complex functional relationships within the building volume are
solved through the use of simple spatial and structural arrangements. The function and
location of individual spaces determined the careful placement of windows which offer
distinctive views ofthe landscape beyond. The community center's exterior appearance
is defined by the variation between the uniform wooden facade surfaces and its selective
openings, which subtly reflect the building's dynamic internal organization.





66 community Center St. Gerold

Roof. U 0.10 W/m'K
5 mm two-ply bituminous roofing membrane
with granulated slate surface
27 mm fi r/ spruce decking
500 mm accessible ventilated cavity
2 mm waterproofing membrane
27 mm fir/spruce decking . laid to fall
180-300 mm furring strips with cellulose fiber
insulation in-between , laid to fall
300 mm t imber beams with cellulose fiber
insulation in-between
27 mm fir/spruce decking
vapo r retarder
110mm services cavity
30 mm acoustical sheep wool insulation
Black mat
40 mm silver fir slats

2- - t--111111

Wood window frame with triple glazing

4 _ _~ l lIIpjl

27 mm silver fir floorboards. fine -sawn

35 mm timber floor joists with cement-bonded
fiberboard in-between
20 mm wood fiberboard impact sound insulation
37 mm gravel bed
220 mm doweled solid timber panel
70 mm suspended timber ceil ing grid
40 mm acoustical sheep wool insulation
15 mm acoustical gypsum-bonded fiberboard
36 mm services cavity
30 mm acoustical sheep wool insulat ion
8lack mat
40 mm silver fir slats
Exterior wall , U 0.117 w/m'K
30 mm silver fir cladd ing boards. rough-sawn
30 mm furring strips , black
30 mm furring strips with ventilated cavity in-between
Building paper, black
25 mm fir/spruce sheathing boards. laid diagonally
125mm timber framing with cellulose fiber
insulation in-between
25 mm fir/spruce sheathing boards . laid diagonally
200 mm timber framing with cellulose fiber insulation
25 mm fir/spruce sheathing boards . laid diagonally
Vapor retarder
40 mm insulated services cavity
20 mm silver fir board


27 mm silver fir floorboards, fine-sawn
67 mm timber floor joists with sheep wool felt
insulation in-between
vapor barrier
100 x 60 mm timber floor joists with wool
fiberboard in-between
100 x 60 mm timber floor joists with wool
fiberboard in-bet ween
5 mm continuous moisture barrier
Prime coat
300 mm waterproof reinforced concrete slab
80 mm gravel bed


68 Community Center St. Gerold

The community center is Vorarlberg's first four-story timber building. With the exception
of the concrete retaining walls, the entire structural system is made of solid sawn lumber
which was predominantly harvested locally in the village's own forest. The community
opted for a sustainable and ecological design approach and made the conscious decision to avoid the use of any building products containing toxic substances. During the
planning phase, all building components were examined with regard to embodied
energy levels, global warming potential, and possible acidification . The goal of this
rigorous evaluation process was to optimize individual building assemblies in order to
reduce the CO 2 impact on the environment. In addition , all specified building materials
were reviewed to ensure their compliance with the established design guidelines:
fluorocarbons, chlorofluorocarbons, PVC, tropical hardwoods from unsustainable
sources, and other harmful substances such as heavy metals were carefully avoided .
Consequently, sheep wool was employed for all thermal insulation needs rather than
mineral wool prod ucts, and PVC-free materials were used for the insulation and sheathing
of all mechanical services runs.
The building components for all structural applications and the facade were fabricated
from silver fir and spruce harvested in the community-owned forest. All interior silver fir
finishes for floors, walls, and ceilings were verifiably produced from timber grown in
Vorarlberg. The interior and exterior surfaces remain untreated and thus guarantee
excellent indoor air qualities and a pollutant-free work environment. The processing of
all raw materials by regional businesses and the inst allat ion and assembly of all building
components by local builders closes the material cycle. The required amount of
embodied energy is significantly reduced, added value is generated and remains in the
region, and the personal engagement of local craftsmen creates a sense of identity for
those involved .



2nd floor


Ground floor 1: 200

8asement floor



Energy Concept
The community center was designed according to Austria's passive house standards,
which require a building's heating energy needs to be less than 15 kWh/m 2a. Due to its
compact envelope, the build -up of individual components, and the careful development
of details, the building achieves values of 10.7 kWh/m 2a. Reduced operating and maintenance costs can be expected as a result of the comprehensive optimization of the
building concept. Heating and ventilation systems have been carefully designed to
meet the users' particular needs. Heating energy is supplied by a geothermal heat
pump while a mechanical ventilation system provides fresh air and regulates the necessary hygienic air changes through the use of CO 2 sensors. Some 87 percent of the energy
usually lost with the venting of exhaust air is recovered through a heat exchanger system.
Simulations showed that without cooling, a maximum indoor temperature of 25-4C was
to be expected in the day-care center and playroom areas. However, these findings
were not problematic since the temperatures are statistically only reached on thirteen
days during the summer months when the affected spaces are not in use. A daylight
sensor controls and adjusts external blinds to prevent overheating through excessive
solar gain. The fit-out of the village store required the installation of several refrigeration
units whose resulting waste heat is fed into the building's energy system. Provision was
made for the integration of PV panels into the south facade. The future installation of
this system will allow the building to be almost completely self-sufficient through the
generation of its own electricity.
Important criteria for the implementation of passive house standards were the construction of an extremely airtight building envelope and the improvement of u-values.
The insulation thicknesses in exterior walls and roof range between 360 and 450 mm,
and all windows are triple-glazed and use stainless-steel spacers. The project was
supervised by the Environmental Institute Vorarlberg (Umweltinstitut Vorarlberg) and
the Energy Institute Vorarlberg (Energieinstitut Vorarlberg), and was sponsored in part
by the European Union. The community center serves as an exemplary building with
regard to ecology, sustainability, and the creation of regional value.


Metzler Residence, Rankweil-Brederis

Marte Marte

Living on the Water

Surrounded by conventional single-family dwellings, the new residence for a middle-aged
couple is located in the outlying areas of Rankweil-Brederis. The pavilion-like atrium
house represents an unusual departure from the prevalent and familiar housing typologies in the area. In order to escape the 1960s charm of their adjacent current residence,
the clients initially conceived the single-story building as a small bath house next to the
intended natural swimming pond in their backyard. The architects were fascinated by
the unique idea of swimming in a natural body of water and went much further in the
development of their concept than the clients had originally anticipated. The design
grew from a simple bath house to an entire new residence. Byharnessing and formalizing
the natural forces of water and turning it into the focal point of the centralized floor
plan, the architects devised a well-crafted solution .
The open and generous living spaces in the new build ing offer a strong juxtaposition to
the fragmented spaces of the clients' previous residence. Together with the swimming
pond in the center of the arrangement, the changing play of light and shadow and the
intentional views through the building and into the surrounding landscape constitute
the dominant design elements . The clients embraced the idea of an unconventional living
experience which would involve the immersion in water and its unique qualities. The
natural swimming pond is lined on three sides with kitchen, dining room, living room,
bathroom, walk-in closet, and bedroom. The subtle changes in orientation, visual
relationships, room dimensions, and light levels between rooms make for a distinctive
and varied spatial sequence. Mediating between the interior and exterior, the building's
envelope varies from ultimate transparency to complete opacity. Story-height windows
face towards the pond in the center, while any other openings towards the surrounding



72 Metzler Residence . Rankweil-Brederis







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Gravel fi ll
Three-p ly bitum inou s roofing membrane
8itum inous prime coat
220 mm fair-faced reinfor ced concrete slab

Tubular steel column

Roof. U = 0.17W!m' K
Gravel fill
Two-p ly bitu minou s roofi ng membrane
80 mm rock wool insulat ion
70-130 mm expanded polystyrene insulation .
laid to fall
Vapor barrier
Bituminous prime coat
200 mm fair-faced reinfor ced concret e slab

Floor. U : 0.23 W!m ' K
30 mm granite ti les
5 mm mort ar bed
70 mm screed with int egrat ed underflo or
heat ing syst em
Vapor barr ier
175 mm thermal insulati on fill
8ituminous waterproofin g membr ane
250 mm fair-fa ced reinforced concret e slab

Exter ior wall. U = 0.29 W!m' K
250 mm fair-faced concrete wall
60 mm extruded polystyrene insulati on
60 mm furring str ips with mineral wool
insulat ion in-betwe en
Vapor barrier
36 mm furring str ips with mineral wool
insulation in-between
70 mm vertical furr ing st ri ps
80 mm horizontal fur ring str ips
20 mm composite wood board wit h
zebrawood veneer

Alum inum wind ow fram e wit h t riple glazing

20 mm granite tile
180 mm pervious concrete
Drainage mat
Two-ply bitu minous waterproofing
membran e
250 mm reinforced concrete slab
Filter reservoir. planted with cattails
and reeds

Floor. U = 0.34 W!m'K
10 mm bamboo parqu et flooring
70 mm screed with int egrat ed underfloor
heating system
Vapor barrier
100 mm therm al insulati on fill
8itum inou s waterproofing membrane
8itu minous prime coat
300 mm reinforced concret e slab

Gravel fill
waterpro ofing memb rane
50 mm bed of fine sand
180 mm reinforc ed concrete slab
300 mm reinforce d concret e slab. laid to fall
30 mm granit e t iles
Stainless steel support str uctu re
waterpr oofing membrane
250 mm reinforced concrete wall
60 mm extr uded polysty rene insulat ion
40 mm furring st rips with mineral wool
insulat ion in-bet ween
Vapor barr ier
30 mm furring str ips wit h mineral wool
insulation in-b etween
2 x 12.5 mm gypsum board

Exterior wall . U = 0.25 W!m' K
250 mm reinforced concrete wall
60 mm extruded polystyrene insulatio n
40 mm furring st rips wit h mineral wool
insulation in- bet ween
vapor barrier
30 mm furr ing st ri ps with mineral wool
insulation in-between
2 x 12.5 mm gypsum board

Gravel fill
220 x 600 x 600 mm prefabricated
concrete foundation pad to support steel
st ruct ure. pr imed and wrapp ed in single-ply
bituminous waterproofing membr ane
Single-pl y membra ne
Single -pl y waterproofing membrane.
two -ply in parts
300 mm reinforced concret e slab. laid to fall

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74 Metzler Residence, Rankweil-Brederis

1" floor 1:4 0 0


landscape along the perimeter are intentionally kept small. The reflections on the water's
surface are combined with a reduced material palette consisting of fair-faced reinforced concrete, granite, aluminum, glass, and zebrawood. While the extensive use of
concrete and exotic wood veneers is not entirely in keeping with the region's sustainable
approach to building, the selected surface finishes unite all individual building volumes. Minimal detailing with utmost precision emphasizes the sophisticated simplicity
of the residence.
Construction and Energy Concept

Site-cast, fair-faced reinforced concrete was used in the construction of the entire
building, while large spans were supplemented by steel columns where necessary. The
exterior facade and ceiling surfaces remain exposed and reveal the smooth, high-quality
concrete finish . Both the rooftop and inner wall surfaces were heavily insulated . Interior
walls were finished with gypsum board or zebrawood-veneered composite boards. Solid
granite was used for interior and exterior floor surfaces, as well as wall finishes in the
bathrooms. The entire swimming pond enclosure was also lined with granite slabs.
The building's exposed concrete structure functions as thermal mass which offers inertia
against temperature fluctuations . Through this, it provides a high degree of thermal
comfort in both winter and summer and plays an important role in the reduction of
energy usage. All windows are triple-glazed and use an external shading system to
prevent excessive solar heat gain. A geothermal heat pump supplies the building with
heat through an int egrated underfloor heating system which can also be used for cooling
in the summer. The open fireplace in the living area serves as an addit ional heat source
during longer cold spells . provision has been made for the installation of solar collector
panels which will provide the residence with hot water in the future. A centralized building management system controls all heating , cooling, and electricity needs. The natural
swimming pond is not heated and is conceived as a self-regulating system. It is coupled
with a narrow regeneration reservoir which is located along the south edge and is planted
with cattails and reeds. The pond water circulates continuously through this biological
filter zone which fulfills the function of water purification.


Oskar Leo Kaufmann, Albert RUf

"Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling" was a recent exhibition at the Museum
of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Inside the museum's galleries, a comprehensive
history of prefabricated domestic architecture was presented . Outside on the adjacent
lot, however, visitors had the opportunity to experience the benefits and shortcomings
of prefabricated dwellings through exploring full-scale design solutions first-hand. Out
of 400 architecture firms worldwide, the museum had selected five offices and had
commissioned each of them to design, fabricate, and install a customized prototype.
Through the full-scale installations, the museum continues in the tradition of Marcel
Breuer's demonstration house which was built in the MoMA sculpture garden in 1949.
Two of the architecture firms were selected from Europe, one being the office of Oskar
Leo Kaufmann and Albert ROf in Dornbirn . Their austere, yet extremely elegant wooden
dwelling unit was completely prefabricated at a carpentry shop in the Bregenzerwald
region, shipped in two standard shipping containers, and set up on location in New York
in less than a working day.
Fabrication and Assembly
SYSTEM3 was conceived as an innovative building system with the intention of satisfying
future demands . Its individual units are movable, expandable, and suitable for lifetime
usage. The design is a further development of the modular prefabricated building
systems SU-SI, FRED, as well as OA.SYS (Open Architecture System), which were all developed by Oskar Leo Kaufmann and Albert ROfin collaboration with architectJohannes
Kaufmann. In contrast to many previous schemes which employ wood-frame construction
techniques, SYSTEM3 consists of laminated solid timber panels and was developed as a
modular system.
The design is based on the separation of the building into a "serving" space and a "naked"
space. The serving space consists of a completely prefabricated unit that provides the
entire house's infrastructure, such as vertical circulation, kitchen, bath, electrical and
mechanical installations, as well as heating and cooling systems. In contrast, the naked
space is made up of entirely planar elements, including floor slab, walls, windows, and
roof. It constitutes the actual living space which is only defined by the positioning of
furniture selected by the house inhabitants. The pre-assembled service space box is
transported as a three -dimensional unit, while the panelized naked space is shipped
flat-packed for effic iency and assembled on location. Each of the spaces encloses a
rectangular volume, and together they form the complete dwelling unit, measuring
4 .56 m by 11.52 m in plan and 2.64 m in height. With a floor area of 53 m-, the MoMA
prototype represents the system's minimal configuration. The architects were initially
worried about the potential deformation of individual panels which might be caused by










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changing levels in temperature and humidity during the transatlantic crossing. However,
these concerns quickly evaporated when the shipment arrived in New York and the entire
system was assembled in less than a day without any complications.
The structure of the house consists of laminated spruce solid timber elements which
are 100 mm thick and guarantee good thermal and acoustic properties. Optional thicker
wall build-ups allow low-energy house or passive-house standards to be comfortably
achieved. The latest CNC technology is employed to cut all openings out of each panel
and allows for rectangular, round, or any type offreeform shapes. Floor-to-ceiling open ings are limited by the milling process since they would jeopardize the structural integrity
of each element, which needs to be rigid enough to be able to be transported and
craned into position during assembly. Future customers will be able to choose the number, position, shape, and size of any openings without any increase in production cost,
resulting in no two units looking the same. During the fabrication process, supreme
craftsmanship was employed to achieve a very high level of quality and accuracy. The
efficiency of prefabrication was combined with the advantages of individual customization . All exterior woode n surfaces have been treated with a marine grade coating which
protects against the elements, yet is permeable and allows the timber elements to
breathe and release moisture to the outside. The exposed interior surfaces are simply
oiled which allows for easy cleaning and maintenance . In addition to the house prototype
itself, the architects also specially designed furniture for the dwelling. The designs for a
table, a chair, and a bed were equally based on the idea of digital prefabrication.



Just like all their previous prefab prototypes, the architects conceived the individual
dwelling units as possible building blocks of a larger system which would allow the generation of more sustainable living and working communities. Units with size variations
of 53 m2 , 86 m2 , 139 m2 , and 159 m2 are anticipated. As long as vertical circulation
elements and services shafts are maintained in the same location, up to thirty units can
be stacked on top of each othe r and arranged to create a ten-story, 1,000 m2 office
tower, the potential maximum configuration . For future production, Kaufmann and ROf
also envision a removable and changeable building skin system which will wrap the
individual units . Consisting of different layers of foils and membranes, it would serve as
waterproofing, thermal insulation, vapor barrier, and for energy generation through the
integration of photovoltaic cells.
After the MoMA exhibition in New York, the SYSTEM3 prototype was disassembled and
shipped back to Vorarlberg. It is now located in the Stadtgarten, a park in Dornbirn's
city center, and serves as an educational facility.


Rauch Residence, Schlins

Planungsgemeinschaft Lehmhaus: Roger Boltshauser, Martin Rauch

Natural Building
Located between the cities of Feldkirch and Bludenz, Schlins is a small community in
the walgau valley. The village houses a number of early built examples by rammed
earth construction pioneer Martin Rauch, and through this, Schlins has established
itself as a mecca for this experimental building typology. On a trip to Africa in the early
1980s, Rauch became fascinated with the traditional local clay and earth construction
techniques. According to him, building with earth not only constitutes the most natural
approach when transforming terrain into habitable space, but the material also allows
the creation of improved interior climatic conditions with regard to humidity levels,
temperature swings, and electromagnetic fields. Combined with the unique aesthetic
character of heavily textured surface finishes, these enhanced qualities are often unsurpassed by other construction techniques. All these aspects begin to address today's
increased demand for truly ecological and sustainable building, and encouraged Martin
Rauch to revive the old methods which over time had been marginalized by industrialization and mass production .
His recently completed own residence with studio, designed in collaboration with
architect Roger Boltshauser, sets a new standard for contemporary rammed earth construction. Rauch's expertise in the field as builder and manufacturer was combined with
the architect's concise design approach. The integration of the homogeneous and
massive rammed earth walls into an architecture which possessed appropriate spatial
and aesthetic qualities proved to be a challenging task. Responding to the narrow site's
steep terrain through its materiality and form, the building's monolithic volume has
literally been carved out of the hillside. The soil excavated on-site makes up 85 percent
of all building materials used for floors, vaulted ceilings, wall and ceiling finishes, stair

l //










84 Rauch Residence, Schlins

treads, ceramic tiles, sinks, showers, and roof tiles. Since rammed earth is locally
available, completely recyclable, easy to process, and provides good insulation and
thermal mass, it offers unique ecological and sustainable properties like no other building
material. It also releases no harmful substances and keeps the relative indoor air
humidity at a constant 45 to 55 percent throughout the year. Concrete and masonry
structures in comparison require ten to twenty times more energy for fabrication, processing, and transport. Due to its low embodied energy values and unlimited ability to
be recycled, rammed earth proves to be even more sustainable than timber.
construction and Energy Concept

Initially, all excavated material from the site was graded and then remixed to be used
for the various designated applications. The building's loadbearing exterior walls are
450 mm thick, extend over three stories, and remain unfinished on the outside.
Compacted in the formwork using jack hammers, their density and weight correspond
to the values of concrete . All rammed earth walls in contact with the ground have been
insulated with foam glass board and are waterproofed using a bituminous membrane.
The stratified character of the walls is further augmented by horizontal courses of clay
bricks that have been inserted at regular intervals. Slightly protruding beyond the walls'
exterior surface, they function as reinforcement and serve as drip edges to protect from
water damage. Structural considerations and daylighting strategies determined the
careful insertion of openings. All fixed glazing is flush with the walls' outside faces and
thus emphasizestheir thickness and stratified mass on the interior. As a protection from
the elements, any operable windows are recessed deep into their respective openings.
In contrast to other rammed earth builders, Martin Rauch made the conscious decision
to avoid the use of cement when building his own house. While this approach maximized the reusability of materials and minimized the use of embodied energy, it made
the development of suitable structural and detailing solutions more challenging.
Nevertheless, the use of trass lime as hydraulic binding agent instead of cement allowed Rauch to achieve material qualities that are very similar to concrete .






Roof. U = 0.2 W!m'K
30 mm fired clay tile
Loose fill
Three-ply bituminous roofing membrane
25 mm laminated veneer lumber board
200 mm reed mat insulat ion
Cork. trass lime. and earth mixture . laid to fall
Approx. 180 mm solid-sawn t imbers
15 mm timber board
20 mm clay panel
10 mm clay render

85 mm rammed earth floor
Cork. trass lime . and earth mixture
Appro x. 180 mm solid-sawn t imbers
15 mm t imber board
20 mm clay panel
10 mm clay render

Reinforced trass lime mortar bond beam

Fired clay tile upstand
80 mm rammed earth floor
115 mm cork . trass lime. and earth mixture
50 mm reed mat
Trass lime mortar
Folded vault structure . consist ing of
fired clay tiles supported by 60 x 60 mm
structural steel tee sections
Two-ply bitum inous waterproofing
100 mm foam glass insulat ion
Single-ply bituminous waterproofing
450 mm rammed earth wall





100 mm trass clay floor
180 mm cork . trass , lime . and earth mixture
200 mm gravel bed


30 mm fired clay brick

450 mm rammed earth wall
100 mm reed mat insulat ion
30 mm clay render with integrated radiant
heat ing coils
Finish coat


86 Rauch Residence, Schlins

A covered entryway doubles as carport and leads visitors into the residence. The ground
floor houses a separate studio apartment as well as a storage space which opens up to
the site's rough rock formations. The ceiling above these spaces is formed by an innovative folded vault system: exposed structural steel T-sections support fired clay tiles
which are topped with a trass lime mortar mixture. The spiral staircase leading to the
upper floors is surrounded by untreated rammed earth walls and is covered by a skylight
which is made of a vaulted clay roof structure with embedded glass blocks. Cantilevering
freely from the walls, the 90 mm -thick stair treads consist of clay panels which have
been reinforced with steel wire and bonded with trass lime mortar. Upon arrival on the
first floor, the rough and earthy atmosphere of the lower level gives way to the light and
airy living, kitchen, and dining spaces. A double-height studio space is lit from the north
with a large clerestory window, and two terraces open up to the surrounding landscape.
The rammed earth floors are waxed, window shutters and sliding doors have been
primed with a light-colored casein emulsion, and walls and ceilings are coated with a
clay render. Reinforced with a linseed mesh, this 30 mm-thick int erior finish consists of
white clay and sand and contains heating coils, these are mounted on a 100 mm-thick
reed mat insulation that has been bonded with clay. Energy for the radiant wall heating
coils and the domestic hot water supply is provided by the tiled stove in the kitchen,
solar panels on the roof, as well as a small pellet-fired central heating system on the
ground floor. The second floor contains bedroom, bathroom, and home office, and is
characterized by a further refinement of surface finishes . The black and white patterned
floor and wall tiles in the bathroom were crafted by Martin Rauch's wife Marta, who
employed a traditional Japanese raku technique which is characterized by hand-molding
the clay, resulting in one-off pieces. Sinks and the shower are made of black fired clay.
The ceilings of both the first and second floors consist of local solid-sawn timbers which
are doweled together at regular intervals (OQbeldecke) and topped with a cork, trass
lime, and earth mixture. All ceilings rest on a reinforced trass lime mortar bond beam
which is embedded in the walls.


Using adequate natural materials and benefiting from superior craftsmanship, it was
possible to create a house with a high-qualitybuilding envelope. Rather than employing
membranes or expanding foams, onlybiodegradable insulation materials andclaysealants were used in the building. Sustainable rammed earth building techniques were
combined with the completely renewable resource timber. All materials andtechniques
employed during the two-and-a-half year construction process were carefully documented andare awaiting detailed analysis based on collected energy and climate data.
Many of the project's material selections and detailing decisions were experimental in
nature, ranging from the geological composition of the building materials, the chemical
makeup of bondingandfiring procedures, all the way to the tools, assembly techniques,
and surface finishes.


Gasthof Krone, Hittisau

Bernardo Bader

Old and New

in Harmony
Since 1838, the landmark Gasthof Krone has functioned as a hotel and restaurant and
has enjoyed popularity among locals and visitors alike. Located in the small village of
Hittisau in the Bregenzerwald region, its rzo-year old timber-framed structure dominates
the main square. Over the centuries, the building has undergone several refurbishments
and transformations. Many of the past changes have not been in keeping with its vernacular style and have left permanent impressions on the historic structure. During one
of the major renovations in 1966, the grand exterior stairs leading up to the second floor
were removed, and the excise offices on the ground floor gave way to retail spaces
which still exist today. A lot of the past improvements had aged noticeably over time,
which made many parts of the building appear run-down and no longer functional. In
2005, the management of the family business was handed over to the third generation
of owners. With new ownership came the desire to refurbish many parts of the existing
building in order to update them to today's standards.
Vorarlberg's Bregenzerwald region is unique in the fact that despite its traditional way
of life , its inhabitants are open to new ideas. Over centuries, a longstanding tradition of
craft helped to develop a regional identity which is still very much alive today. At the
outset of the restoration , the owners made the conscious decision not to tender the
project, a process which typically leads to hiring the builders who submit the lowest
bids. Rather, they chose to collaborate with th irteen businesses affiliated with the
"Werkraum Bregenzerwald" initiative, with the goal of employing local craftsmen and
using regionally sourced materials. The individual team members contributed creat ive
ideas and thoughtful suggestions, stimulating each other throughout the process. The
resulting collective responsibility created a productive work environment, which resulted
in design solutions that were both traditional and unconventional. Within less than two
months , this team of dedicated craftsmen completed the refurbishment of the new
entrance and lobby, two new public sitting rooms, and six hotel rooms. These newly
remodeled spaces now allow guests to experience and appreciate the region's unique
approach to design and its superior quality of craftsmanship.



90 Gasthof Krone, Hittisau

Throughout this process, however, it was of utmost importance that any changes that
were made to the house should be in keeping with the original historic structure and
enhance its beauty, thus restoring it to its former glory. This endeavor required a high
level of sensitivity with regard to the existing building, but did not restrict the architect's
and the builders' confidence to pursue new and courageous ideas. Thejuxtaposition of
old and new avoids harsh contrasts, but rather celebrates the heterogeneous changes
and transitions the building has undergone over time . Through this, unique architectural
solutions were developed that were only possible in this particular context.
Minimal improvements were made to the building's exterior. On the front facade, three
windows of the old assembly hall were reinstated to restore the proportions of the
elevation and the rhythm of openings. New folding shutters were installed on all windows,
and the historic sign was refurbished. The exterior stairs of the original main entrance
on the second floor were a characteristic feature of the building's distinct vernacular
style, but had been removed in the 1960s to make room for the large continuous balcony.
Located in-between the retail spaces, the existing entrance on the ground floor appeared
quite gloomy through its dark interior millwork. This built-in cabinetry was removed to
make room for a light-colored wooden surround , which now marks the new entrance
and invites guests up to the first floor. Merely separated by a glass door, the floor and
ceiling fin ishes in the entrance area appear continuous from outside to inside.
The old west-facing public sitting rooms on the second floor, the "stuben," are popular
spaces and continue to be heavily used by the local population. They served as inspiration for the refurbishment of the large assembly space across the hallway, which was
facing functional issues. By removing some of the interior partitions and replacing all
surface finishes, spacious, partially open rooms were created which prove to be inviting
to both regulars and hotel guests. Through this, the space becomes functional for the
hotel's breakfast buffet and a la carte service, but also provides a suitable venue for
wedding receptions, special occasions, and large gatherings. In keeping with the historic structure, all walls and ceilings in the sitting rooms were clad with brushed solid
spruce and silver fir paneling, creating a contemporary appearance through the use of
traditional techniques. Solid elm was used for all custom-designed furnishings including chairs, banquettes, sideboards, and cabinets.
Six newly redesigned and carefully remodeled guest rooms are accessed through the
spacious hallway on the second floor. The complete renovation of the rooms ensured
that acoustic and thermal insulation, heating systems, and lighting concept were
updated to the latest modern-day comfort standards. A wooden feature element
combining wardrobe, luggage rack, and desk guides guests into the room and provides
a simple yet sophisticated look . The solid oak furniture's simple joinery details combine
function and ornament. Bright white walls and large windows provide an airy atmos phere on entering the space. Silver fir wall paneling surrounds the more intimate
sleeping area, while warm tan-colored walls and natural stone finishes are found in the
bathroom . A bold interpretation of traditional values, the beautifully crafted guest
rooms are in keeping with the building's historic spirit.


As a combined team effort, the refurbishment of the Gasthof Krone marks a new mode
of cooperation between the local businesses. The project's successful completion
serves as an excellent example of how local craftsmanship has helped to establish a
regional identity. Heavily based ontradition, it continues to flourish in the Bregenzerwald
region today.


ihfl [ ~d IIII

Section through hote l rooms south

1I 1I 1



11 11
,1. 1




n n


Section th rough bathrooms south 1:100




ustaina i ity
Community Center Ludesch
Sustainable Paradigm
Hermann Kaufmann
Housing Development Fichtenweg.
Compact and Cost-Efficient
Hans Hohenfellner
Community Center Raggal
Retaining Regional Value
Johannes Kaufmann
Housing Development Sandgrubenweg. Bregenz
Sustainab le Living
Gerhard Horburger, Helmut xuess,
Wolfgang Ritsc h, Norb ert Schweitzer
secondary School Klaus-Weiler-Fraxern
Passive House Sets t he Standard
Dietrich Untertrifaller

94 Sustainability

The Timber House

1 Year 01 construction: 17&3

Palle 2: Farmhouses rn Bodete. Br genzerwald

Its excellent insulating properties make timber the obvious building material of choice
in the cold climate of the Alps, and it is much preferred over masonry construction. [1. 2J
The abundance of timber allowed a tradition of craft and carpentry to evolve over
centuries. The Bregenzerwald region in Vorarlberg boasts one of the best preserved
timber construction traditions in Europe. Timber construction dominates in all parts of
the province, however, and it can be found not only in the mountainous regions, but
also at the shores of Lake Constance and the Rhine river valley. If allowed to dry out
properly, timber-framed houses are extremely durable and can withstand even the
harsh conditions found in the mountains. Careful detailing and assembly techniques
can successfully protect untreated wooden building parts such as facades, windows,
and doors from rain, wind, and snow. Overtime, surfaces facing the sun will be scorched
and turn a dark brown, while the shaded sides of a building will turn a silvery grey as
they age. By following rules that were established by craftsmen over centuries and
handed down from generation to generation, timber houses can last exceptionally long
periods of time. Some of the most successful examples in the Bregenzerwald region
date back to the seventeenth century. External influences, due to Vorarlberg's proximity
to other countries and its fragmented and varied landscape, contributed to the evolution
of several different vernacular house types. This diversity was further enriched by the
walser people, who immigrated from the Swiss region of wallis (Valais), bringing with
them their own rich timber construction tradition.
Timber was plentiful in the beginning of Vorarlberg's colonization, and one of the first
settlers' main tasks was the clearing of forests. From the Middle Ages to the end of
feudalism, timber for building was assigned to the general population by the ruling
nobility. Before fossil fuels were available, timber was the sole energy source, in addition to serving as the predominant construction material and for the manufacture of
everyday goods. Extensive logging created a shortage, which led to the creation of strict
laws and limitations regarding its use. [IJ It is therefore no surprise that the origins of the
word "sustainability" can be found in eighteenth-century European forestry regulations.
In his 1713 publication of "Sylvicultura oeconornlca,' the first comprehensive treatise on
forestry, the German administrator HannB Carl von Carlowitz used the term "nachhaltend" (sustainable) to formulate the concept of sustainability in forestry for the very
first time, and the idea of "Nachhaltigkeit," or sustainability, gradually became more
widespread in Europe during that century. [Ill Vast areas were reforested, measured and
divided , soils were evaluated, and plants and animals were classified, and the deforestation was reversed. Forestry academies were founded in Germany, France, and England,
and the term was eventually translated into other languages, resulting in the nineteenth-century English term "sustained yield forestry," which would serve as the source
for the word "sustainability" in the modern sense. Nevertheless, timber remained the
cheapest building material for Vorarlberg farmers into the nineteenth century. Almost
everything in and around the house was made of wood: the furniture, the paneling in
the parlor, the roof covering with several layers of shingles, the firewood for the stove,
most of the farming tools, and even the everyday footwear.


96 Sustainability

3 B,egenzerw lderhauser in Hirschau

4 Momafone,haus In SI. Gallenkirch


Traditional Houses
By subdividing and adding to initially primitive one-room buildings, the varying farmhouse types of the different Vorarlberg landscapes were developed. The traditional
farmhouse was not the end result of a closed development cycle, but it evolved with
constantly changing social and economic conditions. Certain periods throughout history
experienced significant changes and innovations. In the seventeenth century, the restoration of peace at the end of the Thirty Years' War meant an increase of prosperity and
population, which resulted in larger and more magnificent homes. Then, intensive
farming practices in the nineteenth century forced farmers to increase their livestock,
which in turn required larger stables and more storage space for feed. Outbuildings
were enlarged , and existing roof pitches were steepened in order to allow attic spaces
to hold more hay. [III] Four regionally different and distinctive farmhouse types developed
in Vorarlberg: the "Rheintalhaus,' the "Bregenzerwalderhaus,' the "walserheus,' and
the "Montafonerhaus."
The Rheintalhaus can be found in the settlements of the Rhine river valley, and is
characterized by its sweeping roofline and unique pent roofs, the "klebedacher,' which
effectively protect the facades from rain . Bands of windows provide plenty of light for
textile manufacturing inside, while the masonry plinth contains the weaving chamber
and protects the timber structure from ground moisture. [IV] [6] Possibly the most wellknown Vorarlberg farmhouse type is the sregenzerwalderhaus of the Bregenzerwald
region in the eastern part of the province , which combines outbuildings and living
quarters under one single roof. While seventeenth- and eighteenth-century houses
were made of log walls heavily decorated with carvings and colorful murals , later examples have been completely clad with wood shingles in order to protect the structural
timber walls from wind and weather. [3, 7] A unique characteristic of the aregenzerwalderhaus is the "Schopf," a covered porch on the ground floor which extends the living spaces
to the outside during the summer. Wooden shutters can be folded down to close the
porch off, thus making it a usable space in the winter and during adverse weather
conditions. [v] [8] The narrow Walsertal valleys did not allow the interconnection of living
quarters and outbuildings, and therefore the walserhaus was developed as a stand alone building type . Using their own log wall construction tradition, the immigrated
Walser people erected their settlements on extremely steep sites which were at risk
from avalanchesand landslides. [VI][S] A hybrid timber and masonry construction technique
can be found in the traditional houses in the Montafon valley. The kitchen and entryway
of the Montafonerhaus often have solid stone walls for increased fire protection, while
bedrooms and living spaces are enclosed by log walls . The whitewashed facades of the
masonry walls are often decorated with elaborate frescos. [VIIj[4]

6 Rhemtalhaus m Oberdorf

7 Bregenzerwalderhaus ,n Egg

98 Sustainability


Sustainable Management of Resources

Since Vorarlberg was a relatively poor province for centuries, its population developed
a lifestyle that was dominated by thrift and resourcefulness. Today, the longstanding
tradition of using locally sourced natural building materials and the resulting sustainable
management of resources have been successfully combined with the region's contemporary architecture. Architects, engineers, and craftsmen have assumed an agenda of
environmental responsibility and have developed new models for building, with the
goal of making the most economical and efficient use of land, energy, and materials.
The success of this initiative is rooted in the individual disciplines' expertise and their
cooperation at the early stages of projects, resulting in creative and innovative solutions.
The increasing industrialization of the construction process and the use of prefabrication
techniques minimize waste and help to optimize the use of energy and resources. The
prevalent use of wood as a building material keeps embodied energy levels low while at
the same time providing a CO2-neutral solution. Added value is retained in the region by
using locally sourced materials and employing local businesses for their management
and processing, as well as construction and assembly. New environmental regulations
and a number of technical innovations have raised the quality of the built environment
and also the demands of the clients and the public. For example, an increasing number
of buildings incorporate thermal solar collectors to provide domestic hot water and
space heating, as well as photovoltaic systems for the generation of electricity. The
integration of geothermal heat pumps as well as biomass -powered heating systems
which use byproducts of the timber industry such as wood chips or pellets contributes
to the reduction of carbon emissions.
In association with energy providers, the regional government founded the Energieinstitut
Vorarlberg in 1985, which actively promotes reduced energy consumption, the use of
renewable energy sources, and environmentally friendly building products. It also
provides incentives and funding for private home builders and public investors based
on a set of ecological guidelines. As a result, Vorarlberg possesses the highest number
of low-energy and passive houses in Austria today. The province has been able to develop
sustainable construction practices while retaining its unique regional style. Vorarlberg's
exceptional architectural phenomenon successfully integrates questions of form,
function, construction techniques, and energy consumption, and continues to serve as
a role model for not only Austria but all of Europe. (9)


, WI


... ,r


tbid .


0, 31


VII Ib d





Community Center Ludesch

Hermann Kaufmann

Sustainable Paradigm
Ludesch, a small community close to the city of Bludenz, has a longstanding tradition
of sustainable thinking. In 1992, the community decided to stop using PVC in the construction of public projects, and then joined the InternationalClimate Alliance in 1994.
Athorough survey of the village's buildings and their energy consumption was conducted
in 1995, andserved as a basis to establish their ownincentive program for energy-saving
measures. Since then, the municipality has been assisting its residents with financial
support for the improvement of thermal insulation, the installation of solar collectors
and wood-fired central heating, as well as connection to the local biomass-powered
heating system. In 1998, Ludesch became a member of the es-program, a quality management system initiated by the Energieinstitut Vorarlberg recognizing energy-efficient
communities in the region. The need for a newcommunity centerwas identified in 1995,
and Hermann Kaufmann was hired as the project architect in 2000. By encouraging
active participation from residents, the community's goal was to create a high-quality
mixed -use building that would be able to serve as an exemplary project for cost
efficiencyand ecology.
The village's fast growth in recenttimes led to heterogeneous andsprawling settlement
patterns. No town center was evident, and the existing public buildings such as the
church, school, and community center did not form any significant urban spaces, and



102 Communit y Center Ludesch

had only loose spatial relationships between each other. An important goal of the
proposed building was therefore to strengthen the village's development and sense of
community through the creation of an actual physical center. The new two-story
U-shaped building marks the end of the main street and forms a square, giving the village
a center for the first time. Program elements such as shops, offices, apartments, cafe,
post office, multipurpose spaces, and municipal offices border the plaza, while a large
glazed canopy resting on slender columns oversails the space. Lined with translucent
PV cells, the roof reduces the building's overall energy consumption and allows for outdoor activities even in adverse weather conditions. A pattern of light and shadow covers
facades and floors, and changes the character of the space according to time of day and
season. The newly created square becomes a place to meet and communicate, and invites
residents to participate in the village's daily life. Through th is, the community center
seeks to counter the growing individualism which continues to impact rural communities
throughout the region and is particularly evident in the increasing urban sprawl.

The building's planning and construction process benefited greatly from a high level of
integration . This approach made it possible to address issues of sustainability at multiple
levels, ranging from ecological and economical aspects all the way to social concerns.
The conscious decision to choose environmentally friendly construction materials
significantly reduces the community center's impact on the environment. Most importantly, preference was given to locally available materials in order to retain added value
in the region. Energy consumption and cost typically associated with long transportation
distances could therefore be minimized. Rather than using protective coatings, careful
detailing and assembly techniques were employed to successfully protect untreated
wooden surfaces on the exterior from the elements. All thermal insulation materials in
walls and ceilings are made from renewable resources. No paints, varnishes, or adhesives containing solvents and softeners were used, and building products containing
PVC, fluorocarbons, and formaldehyde were rigorously avoided .
The community center's structural system consists of prefabricated timber panels that
rest on a reinforced-concrete basement level. Locally harvested silver fir was used for
the entire structure and envelope, while the wood used for the building's interior was
procured from the Black Forest in Germany and the vosges region in France. Finishes
range from rough-sawn to brushed and planed, and are used to achieve various appearances. Vertical silver fir cladding boards and louvers characterize the exterior of the
building. A laminated veneer lumber roof overhang supports vertical textile shades and
effectively protects the facades from precipitation. The entire structure was prefabricated
in the factory by two local carpentry businesses and then assembled on location. The
external timber panels are insulat ed with cellulose fiber and the internal walls and
ceilings are lined with sheep wool insulation . Concrete anchors, screws, and adhesive
tapes were used during assembly in order to avoid the use of wood glues. All building
materials were subjected to stringent and repeated inspections, and a data sheet on
each of the 214 products used summarizes their respective properties.



y ~l



10 mm two -ply bituminous elastomeric
membrane with granulated slate surface
60 mm laminated veneer lumber board

External textile shade
Triple-glazed wood framed window

Balustrade . U : 0.15W/m'K
30 mm rough-sawn silver fir cladding boards
70 mm furring str ips with ventilated cavity
Building paper
18 mm fir sheathing
60-80 x 300 mm t imber posts with
300 mm thermal insulation in-bet ween
19 mm spruce laminated veneer lumber
Vapor retarder
50 mm services cavity consist ing of

horizontal furr ing strips with sheep wool

insulation in-between
12.5 mm gypsum board
20 mm silver fir paneling


22 mm oak parquet. oiled
58 mm screed
Vapor retarder
30 mm impact sound insulation
38 mm bed of bonded stone chippings
332 mm prefabricated ceiling panel .
consisting of laminated veneer lumber
board . laminated timber beams. and
40 mm sheep wool insulation
100 mm suspended ceiling
50 mm sheep wool insulat ion
15 mm fire-resistant gypsum board
278 mm suspended timber ceiling gr id
40 mm acoustical sheep wool insulat ion
Acoust ical mat . black
20 x 40 mm silver fir strip acoustical ceiling


Roof. U : 0 .10 W/m'K
10 mm two-ply bituminous elastomeric
membrane with granulated slate surface
2 x 120 mm mineral wool insulation
70 mm expanded polystyrene insulation .
laid to fall
Bituminous vapor barrier
27 mm rough-sawn spruce boards. laid
110 x 280 mm timber rafters
280 mm suspended t imber ceili ng grid
40 mm acoustical sheep wool insulation
Acoustical mat . black
20 x 40 mm silver fir strip acoustical ceiling




Floor (to unheated basement).
U : 0.30 W/m'K
22 mm oak parquet. oiled
58 mm screed
Vapor retarder
30 mm impact sound insulation
70 mm bed of bonded perlite
300 mm reinforced concrete slab



104 Community Center Ludesch

1" floor

Basement 1: 600
l _



106 Community Center Ludesch



. .. . . . . .. . . . .









Energy Concept

In order to fulfill the demands of a truly ecological and sustainable building, the
community center was built according to the current Austrian passive house standard,
which stipulates that the heating energy needs cannot exceed 15 kWhjm 2a . This important goal was achieved through the use of triple glazing, superior thermal insulation,
extremely airtight construction, as well as a mechanical ventilation system which
prevents excessive energy losses through improper natural ventilation . A ground-water
pump is coupled with the ventilation system and exploits the water's year-round
constant temperature for heating in the winter and cooling during the summer. If needed,
additional heating energy can be provided by the municipal biomass-powered district
heating system, which already supplies more than eighty households in the village.
Potable hot water is generated by the 30 m2 solar collector system on the building's
roof. The large glazed canopy not only serves to protect the building and its users from
the elements, but its 350 m2 of laminated safety glass hold translucent PV panels which
generate 16,000 kwh of renewable electricity annually. This amount of energy is fed
into the public grid and can power up to five households. The primary energy used for
the building's construction is less than 18 kWhjm 2 , and constitutes about half of the
energy typically consumed by more conventional construction methods .
The community center 's net construction cost amounted to 5.9 million . The decision
to use environmentally friendly materials instead of conventional building products
added 1.9 percent to the overall budget. Further expenses can be attributed to the
installation of innovative building services and the PV panel array. However, these additional costs can be put into perspective when taking into consideration the building's
life expectancy, its reduced maintenance cost, additional subsidies received by the
local and federal governments, as well as the added income from electricity generation .
The community center's successful completion proves that a sustainable and ecological
planning approach for public projects is possible without a significant increase in
construction costs.


Housing Development Fichtenweg, Bartholomaberg-Gantschier

Hans Hohenfellner

Compact and
sartholomaberg is a small community and tourism resort in the Montafon valley. The
region is extremely mountainous and famous for its hiking, skiing, and mountain-biking,
but as you might imagine, level building ground is scarce. Since the site of this project
was one of the few flat lots in the village and therefore very valuable, the client sought
to maximize the opportunity by increasing density. This terraced housing development
consists of six two-story units, each offering 103 m2 of living space. Its compact and
cost-efficient design makes it attractive and affordable for younger generations to own
their first home and serves as a model for future growth in the area.
The individual units are accessed from the northeast side. This elevation appears solid
and introverted through the use of small windows which help to minimize excessive
heat loss during the winter months. The opposite, southwestern facade opens up to the
surrounding landscape with generous amounts of glazing, roof terraces, and patio spaces,
thus taking advantage of any incident solar heat gain. Kitchen, dining, and living rooms
are located on the ground floor, while three bedrooms, a bathroom, and a generous
walk-in closet occupy the upper level of each unit. Even though the houses are compact
in size, the interiors appear relatively spacious. The architect borrowed from the past by
employing space-making techniques used in the design and construction of traditional
farmhouses. By playing with proportions and window sill heights, he was able to create



110 Housing Development Fichtenweg, sartholornaberg-aantschler




2 -----.-




'1, 1, ,




Roof, U : 0.15 W/m'K
50 mm gravel fill
Three-ply bituminous roofing membrane
separat ion layer
40-120 mm rigid insulation , laid to fall
22 mm oriented strand board
90 x 220 mm t imber beams with
thermal insulation in-between
Vapor barrier
30 mm furring strips
12.5 mm gypsum board

Double-glazed window in larch frame

5 ---.

l -







Terrace, U = 0.15W/m'K
30 mm larch slats
BO mm substrate
Single-ply bituminous rubbe r membrane
60-100 mm rigid insulation , laid to fall
waterproofing membrane
22 mm oriented strand board
90 x 220 mm t imber beams with
thermal insulation in-between
Vapor barr ier
30 mm furring strips
12.5 mm gypsum board
Floor, U a 0.18W/m'K
15 mm parquet flooring
60 mm screed with int egrat ed
underfloor heating system
Vapor reta rder
50 mm impact sound insulation
22 mm or iented strand board
90 x 220 mm t imber beams with
thermal insulat ion in-between
Vapor barrier
30 mm furring str ips
12.5 mm gypsum board

Exterior wall , U = 0.25 W/m'K
20 x 66 mm larch cladding board s
24 mm ventilated cavity
Vapor ret arder
16 mm fiberboard
180 mm insulated timber panel
15 mm oriented strand board
Vapor barrier
30 mm furring strips
2 x 12.5 mm gypsum board
Floor, U = 0.23 W/m'K
15 mm parquet flooring
60 mm screed with integrated
underfloor heat ing system
Vapor retarder
140 mm rigid thermal insulation
20 mm impact sound insulati on
1BO mm reinforced concrete slab


a sense of spaciousness in even the smallest room . Openings are cut into the elongated
building volume to form intermediate spaces in-between the individual units . These
covered outdoor areas simultaneously function as carport, covered entrance, and
screened private seating area, and consequently provide the inexpensive and compact
homes with a large amount of flexible transitional space. Each unit has its own basement
level which contains all service connections, including the hook up to the development's
central heating system.
construction and Energy Concept
The prefabricated timber panel system with highly insulated flat roofs rests on a
reinforced-concrete basement, and was designed according to Vorarlberg's "Oko r"
guidelines. A system of non-load bearing interior partition walls allows a maximum of
flexibility and customization since owners can resize spaces according to their individual
needs. Continuous horizontal larch cladding forms the exterior envelope and unifies the
individual units into one large yet compact building volume. Over time, sun and rain will
weather the wooden boards providing the building with an even gray-brown patina.
The housing development is equipped with a 26 kW central wood-pellets heating system
which supplies all six units and is housed in a communal basement space. Increasing in
popularity, pellets are a type of wood fuel made from compacted sawdust as a byproduct
of sawmilling. Wood pellets burn with a very high combustion efficiency and also provide
a CO2 - n e u t r a l solution, since the quantity emitted during combustion is equal to the
amount absorbed by the tree during its growth . A 50 m2 solar collector with large buffer
storage supplies the entire development with domestic hot water. Through its minimized footprint on the site, compact volume , and energy efficiency, the housing project
offers a sensible alternative to the typical detached single-family houses which significantly contribute to the sprawling and uncontrolled development throughout the region.

2n d floor

1" floor 1:500


Community Center RaggaL

Johannes Kaufmann

Retaining Regional
Raggalis a village of about goo inhabitants in the remote Great Walser Valley. The small
rural mountain community sought to unite all its necessary municipal services under
one roof. The competition -winning design for the new community center proposed a
single-story building facing the village's main square, which then rises to a three-story
volume towards the north by taking advantage of the site's topography. The building
complements the overall ensemble of church, school, and inn, and at the same time
preserves the spectacular panoramic view from the square. As a result, important visual
relationships between the existing buildings can be retained, and the village's historic
fabric remains intact.
The building's pitched roofline was determined through the spatial arrangement of
programmatic functions, most importantly the north-facing community council boardroom on the top floor. Municipal offices, tourist information , family counseling, and the
community kitchen are on the ground floor which can be easily accessed from the main
square. The separately accessible lower level houses a band rehearsal room, mechanical
service spaces, and a biomass-powered heating plant.


114 community Center Raggal

The client wanted to use locally grown and harvested spruce and fir for the construction
of the new building, since the community owns its own forest and is one of six villages
which form the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve "Great Walser Valley." It was therefore
equally important to use regionally sourced materials and to employ local businesses
to retain added value in the region.
As a trained carpenter, the architect welcomed the decision to use mainly wood for the
community center, since it allowed him to take advantage of his extensive knowledge
and woodworking skills. Using locally harvested timber also meant assembling a cutting
list of sections early on to ensure that the wood could be logged and dried in time for
construction. The architect selected suitable trees in the village's forest with the mayor
and a ranger, and together with the carpenter and the owner of the sawmill he determined 40 to 50 different cut patterns, each of which identified what part of a particular
tree would be used for what purpose. This process allowed the assignment of a specific
grade of wood for each building component, and also ensured that each tree trunk was
used as efficiently as possible while at the same time minimizing waste.
The community center's structural system consists of prefabricated timber panels
which rest on a reinforced-concrete basement level. The exposed roof rafters are based
on a 60 mm module due to the region's high snow loads. The building grid expands to a
600 mm module on the first floor and increases to a 2-40 m module on the ground
floor. The resulting short spans are easily achieved with solid sawn lumber and make
the use of engineered wood products unnecessary. Spruce was used for all structural
elements, while the building's exterior is clad in silver fir. Wood finishes also dominate
the interior and create a comfortable environment along with high ceilings and ample
glazing. With the exception of the bathrooms, all walls and ceilings are sheathed in solid
sawn silver fir boards, and the built-in furniture is made of solid wood as well. The
building is not a mass-produced timber structure, but is highly customized and carefully
prefabricated by the village's sawmill and local carpenters. The extensive use of wood
embeds the community center into its rural surroundings, and mediates between the
traditional construction techniques and a contemporary and sophisticated architecture.


Roof. U = O.lS W/m'K
2 mm sheet metal roof
separation layer
30 mm timber decking
60 x 200 mm purlins with ventilated
cavity in-between
Sarking membrane
20 mm timber decking
2 x 60 x 120 mm cross-layered timber
purlins with mineral wool thermal insulation
Vapor retarder
35 mm wood wool slab
60 x 160 mm exposed spruce rafters

Suspended light fixture
70 x 600 mm spruce column . clad in
sheet metal

Silver fir window frame with tr iple glazing
Exterior wall . U = O.lS w/m'K
2 x 22 mm spruce sid ing boards . rough-sawn
24 mm furring strips
32 mm furring strips with vent ilated cavity
Suilding paper
lS mm spruce sheathing boards . laid
60 x 240 mm timber members with mineral
wool thermal insulation in-between
22 mm spruce sheathing boards. laid
vapor retarde r
62 mm services cavity
20 mm silver fir board. brushed

Built-in cabinetry. brushed silver fir
17 mm oak parquet
73 mm screed with integrated underfloor
heating system
Separation layer
30 mm impact sound insulation
60 mm bed of bonded polystyrene beads
300 mm reinforced concrete slab
300 mm suspended ceiling
60 mm acoustical ceiling panel. silver fir

Ventilation ducts for supply and exhaust air


Silver fir exterior door

Fair-faced concrete retain ing wall
Floor. U = 0.27 w/m'K
17mm oak parquet
23 mm composite board
Vapor retarder
100 mm mineral wool thermal insulation
130 mmfill
waterproofing membrane
300 mm reinforced concrete slab
60 mm exter ior thermal insulation





116 Community Center Raggal

20 floor

:::J =.:I :::LJ ::::LJ :::J =.:I =.:I :::J

1" floor




Ground floor 1: 400




Energy Concept
The architect's goalwas not to try to achieve the Austrian passive house standard at all
cost,but hestill employed techniques and technologies that reduce energy consumption .
A compact volume, airtight envelope assembly, triple glazing, timber wall panels with
320 mmof insulation, and a mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery make the
community center a low-energy building. Nonetheless, large north-facing windows
open up to the surrounding landscape and take advantage of the view into the valley
below. A biomass-powered heating plant in the basement runs mostly on wood chips
and supplies heating energy to not only the new structure, but also seven additional
buildings in the village.
The community center is considered to be the product of a successful collaboration
between everyone involved: a local architectwho understands the needs and desires of
the community, a client who trusts and respects the architect, and finally professional
consultants and skilled craftsmen - all of whom contributed to the smooth planning
and construction process.

Nort heast elevat ion 1:400

1:40 0

Nort hwest elevat ion


I I ~

1-== r--



Housing Development Sandgrubenweg, Bregenz

Gerhard Horburger, Helmut Kuess,
Wolfgang Ritsch, Norbert Schweitzer

Sustainable Living
Each of the four four-story blocks contains five units per floor and is accessed by a
centralized staircase and elevator. The buildings' gently curved geometries are a combined result of urban planning, the site's topography, and the desire to maximize incident
solar radiation. Based on a system of overlapping sine curves, this arrangement ensures
that the buildings do not cast shadows over each other. The positioning of the volumes
on the site, the far-reaching views from the generous te rraces, and the adjacent park
with its large trees contribute to generating an almost rural setting. The housing development offers a comprehensive set of amenities to its residents , which include bicycle
rental, laundry service, shopping service, moving assistance, and even car sharing .
The low-energy housing development with 75 owner-occupied units served as a pilot
project and aims to translate the qualities of single-family housing into a multi-family
residential project. One of the key aspects was to offer a modular architecture with
maximum flexibility that would allow future owners to customize their floor plans
according to individual needs. Initially, potential customers were able to choose a floor
plan size between 30 and 200 m2 , which they were then able to partition and arrange as
desired. While standard floor plan layouts were developed, buyers were able to customize their future apartments by choosing from a catalogue of options and upgrades,
which included furnishings, fixtures, information technology and communication equipment, as well as colors and finishes . In this way, the owners were able to visualize the



120 Housing Development Sandgrubenweg, Bregenz

design of their own individual units at an early stage, and it also allowed them to establish
a precise financial budget . Equally as important as the initial customization was the
ability to facilitate floor plan changes at a later date by removing internal partition
walls, which required extensive forethought with regard to services integration and
aesthetics duringthe design phase. Each unit should be able to "grow old"with its owner
by adapting to changing user requirements over time. Even though this framework
allows for a high degree of flexibility for the individual units, the overall exterior appearance of the entire building volumes remains consistent and unaffected . While windows
and doors can be arranged according to individual preference, the continuous terraces
lining the buildings' perimeters, as well as the movable perforated metal shutters,
compensate for any irregularities in the elevations.
The housing development is part of a comprehensive research project called "inkl.
wohnen" (all-inclusive living), which was initiated by the client - an investor and property developer - in order to explore opportunities in the sustainable development of
multi-family residential buildings. The study was supported by the Austrian Federal
Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology as part of its "Building of Tomorrow"
program, which pursues clearly defined goals such as improved energy efficiency, the
use of renewable energy sources and environmentally friendly building materials, as
well as increased consideration of user needs and services, while at the same time
keeping to a budget that is comparable to conventional construction methods . A team
of experts from various disciplines including architecture, urban planning, building biology, building ecology, building physics, facility management, information technology,
as well as psychology and sociology closely collaborated on this project. The objective
of the study was to develop a holistic approach for multi-family housing developments
by including a number of specific features and offering a range of high-quality services.
It was determined that the resulting innovative concept should be implemented with a
particular focus on life-cycle costs, sustainability, and the creation of long-lasting value,
but without incurring additional costs for the occupants despite the improved services.

11\ floor 1:600

2ft floor

3' floor






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122 Housing Development Sandgrubenweg, Bregenz

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -.. . . .1"


f- 3

Roof, U = 0.115 W!m'K (Build ing B,
low-energy sta ndard)
Hydro seeds incl udi ng sed um
100 mm extensi ve subst rat e
Drainage channel
Protection and stora ge mat
340 mm rigid t hermal insulati on
Vapor barrie r
Fibrou s mat
2BO mm reinforced concrete slab, laid t o fall
Triple glazing U = 0.70 W!m'K
(Build ing B, low-energy standard )

Sliding shutt er

I r=



Sli di ng shutter tr ack








f------- B




' o(l


Extern al textil e shade
Floor, U = 0.169 W!m' K (Build ing B,
low-e nergy standard)
15 mm parquet
60 mm screed
Vapor barr ier
30 mm sound impact insulat ion
150 mm rigi d thermal insulat ion
280 mm reinfor ced concret e slab

27 x 100 mm timber decking
27 x 100 mm furring st ri ps
60 x 100 mm furring st rips on height-adjustable
waterproofin g membrane
Fibro us mat
280-370 mm reinforced concrete , laid to fall
Exterior wall, U = 0.145W!m'K (Buil di ng B,
low-energy st andard)
19 mm larch lam inated veneer lumber board
60 x 40 mm fu rr ing stri ps wit h ventilat ed cavit y
in-bet ween
15 mm oriented strand board
200 mm t imber framing with t hermal insulati on
in-b et ween
15 mm gypsum fib erboa rd
60 x 50 mm furring strips with the rmal
insulat ion in-between
12.5 mm gypsum board



A reinforced-concrete frame consisting of slabs and columns forms the buildings'

structural system, which rests on the communal underground reinforced-concrete
parking garage. The non-load bearing exterior and interior walls, as well as the privacy
screens between individual terraces, are made of prefabricated timber panels. Rather
than being glued, these are mechanically fastened to ensure ultimate flexibility. The
facade panels are clad in untreated larch and allow window and door openings to be
easily moved and relocated. Movable interior timber panel partitions allow for easy
adaptation to changing user requirements over time. Deep floor and ceiling build-ups
accommodate building services and facilitate flexibility, while adequate room heights
of 2.65 m allow optional ventilation ducts to be suspended from the ceiling. Conventional chases typically necessary to supply bathrooms and kitchens could be avoided.
The only vertical elements are wastewater pipes and rainwater downpipes, which are
concentrated in several locations. Moveable, powder-coated and perforated metal
sheet shutters along the buildings ' perimeters serve as sun-shading devices. In
combination with the continuous terraces, they allow the creation of individualized
outdoor living spaces and opportunities for retreat without changing the build ings'
overall exterior appearances.
Energy Concept

Three ofthe four buildings were designed according to Vorarlberg's "oko 2" guidelines.
In order to qualify for financial assistance under this initiative, the buildings had to
comply with a number of strict ecological guidelines, including a reduced heating
demand of 35 kWhjm 2a or less, which is considerably lower than that for similar
conventional residential buildings being completed at the same time . A central woodpellets heating system supplies all apartments with heat through the integrated
underfloor heating. Each residential unit has its own control panel which is used to
simultaneously regulate room air temperature and monitor energy consumption. Owners were able to select a mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery as an optional
upgrade at the time of purchase.
The fourth building is the first multi-family residential building in Austria to be built
according to Vorarlberg's "oko 3" passive house guidelines, which stipulate a heating
demand of only 15 kWhjm 2a or less. Even though highly desirable, it proved to be
problematic to design all four buildings according to this rigorous standard . The fact
that the build ings are located on a north -facing slope made it difficult to take full
advantage of significant solar heat gain. In addition, only 20 percent of the future residents agreed to have a mechanical ventilation system installed, a feature necessary to
reduce the heating demand to the required value. While the other three buildings benefited from certain passive house features such as triple glazing, only the fourth was completed in its entirety according to the strict conventions of the passive house regulations.
The housing development sets a new standard in multi-family residential construction .
As the outcome of an extensive research study, the project serves as an excellent
example for the successful and comprehensive integration of economical, ecological,
social, and health-related concerns. Data and knowledge on performance and use will
be collected during the next several years, and will be particularly helpful in improving
and advancing the concept for future multi-family residential developments.


Secondary School Klaus-Weiler-Fraxern

Dietrich UntertrifaUer

Passive House Sets

the Standard
The existing secondary school of the three municipalities Klaus, Weiler, and Fraxern in
the Rhine river valley had been designed in the mid-1970S according to a pedagogical
concept which envisioned large public areas within the building. Compared with today's
construction standards, the concrete structure had only been marginally insulated and
employed an inefficient electrical heating system . Some twenty-five years later, the
building's floor plan layoutno longer fitted the school's needs, and the entire structure
also required extensive refurbishment to bring it up to today's building codes. A study
concluded that a renovation would not be feasible for environmental and economic
reasons, so the local authority chose to sell the old school in orderto replace it with a
new building which would be ableto house up to 350 students. However, the decision
was taken to keep the existing gymnasium which would be refurbished in a second
phase. The experience of excessive operating costs of the old buildingin the pastledto
the stipulation of tight cost and energy-efficiency guidelines for the two-stage design
competition. In the spring of 2001, architecture firm Dietrich Untertrifalleremerged as
the winner and was commissioned to design the new school building. Due to the
extremely tight schedule, the architects opted for a structural timber system, taking
advantage of prefabricated box elements. The completed building was inaugurated


126 Secondary School Klaus-Weiler-Fraxern

after a record-breaking planning and construction period of only eighteen months. With
a heating energy demand of less than 1S kWh/m 2a, the building is the first school in
Austria to comply with Vorarlberg's stringent passive house energy standards.
The t-shaped building volume is slightly set back from the main road, and in combination
with the existing gymnasium forms a square in front which is shielded from the street by
a line of trees. The narrow bar facing the public square houses the covered main entrance and double-height assembly hall on the ground floor, as well as the communal
library on the upper level. It blocks the classrooms and schoolyard behind from any
street noise. The school's double-loaded main volume contains twelve regular classrooms on two levels along the eastern edge, whereas administrative spaces and
special-purpose classrooms are located on the west-facing side. A three-story atrium
next to the central corridor allows daylight to penetrate down to the lower level through
a wide skylight above. Individual bridges connect the classrooms to the east, while a
zone of service spaces which includes bathrooms and fire stairs lines the corridor on the
west side. The skylights and tall built-in coat racks break down the central circulation
zone into smaller spaces and transform the long corridor into a lively meeting space
during recess. The bridge connections feature glass balustrades and allow oblique
views through the atrium space. Some of the terrain was carved out around the building
to provide the workshop spaces on the lower level with sufficient daylight. A wide bed
of gravel stretches through the entire lower floor right below the atrium void .


181111111 811

Ground noor 1:1000

2n d floor







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nr ..............




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128 Secondary Schoo l Klaus-weiler-Fraxern

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Triple glazing

Ventilation and smoke vent

Window, U 0.76 w/m'K
Triple glazing in wood frame

Roof, U 0 .11 W/m'K
100 mm extensive green roof
Three-ply bituminous roofing membrane
300 mm rock wool thermal insulation
Vapor barrier
22 mm oriented strand board
520-380 mm laminated timber beams,
laid to fall
22 mm oriented strand board
12mm suspended birch plywood ceiling
240 x 380-520 mm laminated timber beam

220 x 640 mm laminated timber beam


.: 1-' II

. '.'.'








540 x 60 mm laminated timber window reveal

Triple glazing

3 mm epoxy resin floor finish
60 mm screed
25 mm impact sound insulation
50 mmfill
Vapor barrier
33 mm laminated veneer lumber board
80 x 380 mm laminated timber beams with
100 mm rock wool insulation in-bet ween
33 mm laminated veneer lumber board
12mm suspended birch plywood ceiling

Aluminum louver blind

3 mm epoxy resin floor finish
60 mm screed
25 mm impact sound insulation
Vapor barrier
33 mm laminated veneer lumber board
80 x 380 mm laminated timber beams with
380 mm rock wool insulation in -between
33 mm laminated veneer lumber board

Exterior wall. U = 0.11 W/m'K
20 mm untreated silver fir cladding boards
30 mm furring strips
40 mm furring strips
Wind paper
2 x 40 x 60 mm furring strips with rock
wool insulation in-between
33 mm laminated veneer lumber board
180 mm laminated timber beam with
180 mm rock wool insulat ion in-between
33 mm laminated veneer lumber board
vapor barrier
84 mm furring strips with 50 mm rock
wool insulation in-between
12 mm birch plywood board

130 Secondary School Klaus-weiler-Fraxern

Despite the tight schedule, the architects avoided a conventional design solution but
instead opted for the development of a sustainable building concept with high spatial
qualities and attention to detail. The compact and clearly structured building volume
helped to reduce cost and maximize energy efficiency. The school's simple yet spatially
interesting arrangement is rooted in the economy of the chosen prefabricated structural
timber box elements. Made of locally harvested silver fir, they rest on the site-cast concrete basement while their exterior is clad with untreated silver fir boards. The offsite
prefabrication of the timber elements, the avoidance of elaborate and costly foundation
piles due to the structure's lightweight nature , the fast on-site installation, and the
elimination of drying times facilitated the project's very short construction time .
The structural system of the entrance and assembly hall volume consists of laminated
timber beams and columns which also support the completely glazed facade. The building's south-facing elevation had to be protected from excessive solar heat gain. Rather
than employing louvers which would have compromised the view of the Rhine river valley
below, the architects opted for a corrugated and perforated copper screen with an
open area of 30 percent. Supported by a separate steel frame structure, this lightweight metal "veil" shields the spaces behind while allowing visual connections to the
outside. Throughout the day, the screen appears defensive, lending the building a solid
appearance. During evening events, however, the building glows and allows filtered
views of the inside. Sun shading to the west- and east-facing classroom windows is
provided by automated external blinds which can also be individually controlled by the
users if necessary. A band of operable windows is located below the fixed glazing at the
eye level of seated students. They retain views to the outside, but are well-protected
from the sun by being set far back from the main facade plane. All interior spaces are
extensively clad with birch plywood panels, which help to generate a warm atmosphere .
Concrete floors are found in the assembly hall and the lower level, while the upper
stories have a red epoxy resin floor finish, a vibrant contribution to the otherwise muted
color palette.
Energy Concept
The close collaboration between the local authorities, the architects, the consulting
engineers, and the participating construction firms allowed the development of a highly
sustainable and energy-efficient building concept. Byselecting environmentally-friendly
building materials, by constructing a compact, well insulated and airtight envelope,
and by installing a passive heating and ventilation system, it was possible to limit the
building's heating energy demand to 15 kWh/m 2a , thus complying with Vorarlberg's passive
houseenergystandards. Thermodynamic simulations were conducted during the planning
phase to assure the achievement of target values. Continuous monitoring during the
first two years of operation has shown that the building performs even better than anticipated, since the heating energy demand for the entire complex is only 11.4 kWh/m 2a.
The facades are highly insulated through the use of triple-glazed windows and the
application of 300 mm rock wool insulation in roof and wall panels. The assembly hall
and library spaces - which do not meet passive house energy standards - are equipped
with a low-temperature underfloor heating system. All remaining spaces are heated
and cooled through the centrally controlled ventilation system. Equipped with a heat
exchanger, the system recovers around 85 percent of the heat from the discharged
exhaust air. A ground source heat exchanger, consisting of 27 polyethylene pipes, each


26 m long with a diameter of 400 mm, is located in the ground below the assembly hall.
This system preheats or precools the intake air according to the seasons to about 18C,
making any additional air conditioning unnecessary. A bypass system allows air to
directly enter the building if exterior temperatures are around 18 to 20C . Supplemental
heating energy is currently supplied by a condensing gas boiler, which will eventually be
replaced by a biomass-powered heating plant run on wood chips. While an electric
water heater generates hot water, provision has been made to connect the water system
to solar collectors in the near future . A total of 240 m2 of PV panels have been installed
on the roof and deliver 20 kWp which are fed into the public grid. Rainwater is collected
and used for the sprinkler system. The entire building is controlled by a bus system
which ensures optimal performance of heating, cooling, ventilation, sunshading, and
lighting systems.

All these strategies have contributed to a reduction of the building's energy consumption
of about 75 percent , while increasing the overall construction budget by merely 3 percent
compared with a conventional building. Through successful completion of this pilot
project, the local authorities of Klaus, Weiler, and Fraxern have demonstrated their
commitment to the environment and the conservation of resources. The new school
building has already received several awards for its architectural qualities and energy

bypass supply air

outgo ing air library




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classroom wing

exhaust air

fresh air

collec tor

rotary heat exchanger

(heat recovery)

heating register

cross now heat exchang er

(heat recovery)

ffi!] sound absorber

m shut -off nap

outgoing air




control valve/fire dampe

supply air

volume now cont roller

cen tral ventilation

sta tion library

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air supply
ground source
heat exchanger

collec tor

Housing Development Miihlweg, Vienna
Exporting Expertise
Hermann Kaufmann + Johannes Kaufmann
Hugo Kleinbrod Chapel, Lustenau
The Church Comes to the people
Hugo Dworzak
Tschabrun Logistics Center, Rankweil
All About Wood
Christian Lenz
Hospital Dornbirn
Floating Featherweight
Gohm & Hiessberger
Nordwesthaus, FuBach
Lig ht and Shadow
Baumschlager Eberle

134 Construction Systems

Vernacular Timber Construction

, rrn Fang housing development, Hlichs . 1979

(Arch ,tektengeme ,nschaft coocerauve)
Page 132: Halde II housing development Bludenz H~avy
masonry walls filled in with a lightweight limber framed floor
and wall system (Hans Punn)

Dueto the prevalence of timber and the region's carpentry tradition, several vernacular
construction techniques were developed in vorarlberg. The careful evolution of these
principles over centuries led to buildings with life spans of 200 to 300 years, and many
outstanding structures haveendured the test of time and are still standing. The "Standerbohlenbau," a post-and-beam construction method , is the oldest timber construction
technique in Vorarlberg, and only a few examples have survived . [4] Derived from a
construction practice where vertical posts were simply driven into the ground, later
techniques rested the posts on a masonry foundation in order to keep timber elements
away from moisture. Postsand beams make up the structural framework, and horizontal
timber planks 80-120 mm in width form the walls. Theseare slotted into vertical grooves
which have been cut into the posts. [IJ The standerbohlenbau uses considerably less
wood than the much larger log construction, and was therefore mostly used for outbuildings such as hay barns and stables. [III
The "slockbau," or log construction, is the building technique most commonly used for
traditional farmhouses in Vorarlberg. Timber members are stacked horizontally and
linked in the corners using cogged joints. The "Kopfstrick," or locked lap joint, is the
oldest cornering technique, and the members extend beyond the wall faces at the
corners . [2] By the end of the eighteenth century, this type of connection was gradually
replaced by the "Schwalbenschwanzstrick" or dovetail joint, which featured a flush
corner. [31 Hardwood pegs were inserted into the logs to int erlock the individual courses,
creating a structure of great rigidity. [III] With increasing industrialization, the availability
of mass-produced inexpensive nails allowed the facades to be clad with a scale-like
shingle skin that effectively protected the structural members from rain.
When thinking of traditional European houses, the typical "Fachwerkbau," or timberframe construction, usually comes to mind. This system consists of a structural framework which is filled in with wattle, clay, and chopped straw. Vorarlberg is, in fact, the
only Austrian province that possesses a significant number of these types of buildings,
due to its geographical location at a point where different construction techniques
meet, making for an interesting mix of styles. However, timber-framed houses were
mostly built in areas rich with deciduous trees, since these predominantly produced
short structural members. construction systems such as post-and-beam construction
and log construction were prevalent in Vorarlberg, taking advantage of the abundance
of coniferous trees which provided long and straight members. [IV]


2 Rh intalhaus


schnihs built u on& th to construcuon techniqu

136 Construction Systems

Change in Tradition

The building codes of various periods in history appear to have discouraged timber
construction. In the Middle Ages, many cities introduced bans against the use oftimber
as a building material and roof covering, mainly as a means of fire prevention. These
regulations had little success, since entire cities burned down time and again. Meanwhile, most houses in the countryside continued to be built exclusively out of timber
until the end ofthe nineteenth century. [v)

5 Stucco hides the limber framework of a farmhouse In R6this

6-8 Estate houses built with the tradnional log construction

technique. Altach. 1934-35 (Hermann xeckers)


Vorarlberg's timber construction tradition was put to the test with the rise of the
bourgeoisie and the establishment of new values in the late nineteenth century. Suddenly, timber houses conveyed an image of poverty and were out of fashion, since they
were considered a sign of belonging to the working class. In addition, it became popular
belief that timber was an ephemeral and perishable building material, even though
thousands of historic timber buildings proved otherwise. Masonry homes were the new
status symbol ofthe middle and upper classes and became the prevalent building type.
As a result, many timber houses were covered up with stucco after the fact in order to
make them look like their more expensive masonry neighbors . [VIJ(S.9 )
The advantages of timber construction were rediscovered in times of economic hardship. Between the First and Second World Wars, the distinguished Austrian architect
Clemens Holzmeister published his essay "Der Holzhausbau," or "Timber House Construction," which discussed the decline of the timber construction tradition. In his
publication, Holzmeister presents numerous encouraging examples of successful old
timber buildings, many of them in Vorarlberg, and points the way to a new era of t imber
construction . Above all, he points out the positive impact of managed forestry and the
use of locally available resources on the economy in times of crisis. In the 19 3 0 S, the
Austrian federal government launched a building program to battle the housing shortage
and rising unemployment. Across the country, the creation of new housing estates at
the perimeters of existing settlements was aimed at providing jobs and housing for the
unemployed and short-term workers. Eight of these estates were developed in Vorarlberg,
and all of the homes were built using traditional log construction techniques with
members 120 mm thlck.nv-zo) The large amount of readily available labor allowed for
cost-effective prefabrication. Additionally, the chosen timber system allowed future
owners to contribute approximately 1,500 hours of their own time and labor to the
construction of their home. This set a new precedent, and architects in Vorarlberg
would use this combination of professional, industrialized prefabrication with unskilled
do-it-yourself labor for the construction of residential projects in the future . [VIIJ( 6- 8)


9 Careles s masonry addition t o an exrsnng timb er structure

138 Construction Systems

A New Era

10 11 rrn Fang hOUSlnR development. Hochst. 1979

(Arch.tektengemeinschaft Cooperative)


Timber construction finally experienced a revival in the 1960s, when a group of young
architects started practicing in Vorarlberg . Hans Purin, Rudolf Wager, Jakob Albrecht,
Gunter Wratzfeld , and Leopold Kaufmann designed timber houses, which, through their
lack oftraditional elements in combination with open floor plans, flat roofs, and unusually large windows, received a lot of criticism among the general population . Leopold
Kaufmann remarks : "My first projects - in the sixties - had neither the proper roof, nor
the proper form, nor the right windows . The result was that my neighbors no longer
greeted me after attending Sunday Mass." [VIII) With their designs, they formulated alternatives to the prevalent local provincialism, which was the result of misguided formal
interpretations of the historic building stock. [IX) Rudolf Wager states : "I consciously
attempted to build in opposition to traditional tendencies. During my apprenticeship as
a carpenter, I realized how thoughtless the so-called traditional construction had
become. These stereotypical houses were not really traditional buildings ... I did not
want to derive new possibilities and variations in a well-behaved and consistent manner,
but needed to oppose th is thoughtlessness." [X)[12) The architects established a dialogue
with the region's rich timber building tradition and used the carpentry trade's craftsmanship skills as a basis for their new timber-frame construction systems. Working with
timber also meant that buildings had to be well constructed, and particular attention
had to be paid to the correct assembly of walls and roofs . Space-making began with
designing the structural system, which played an important role as an expressive visual
Vorarlberg's population is known as being thrifty and hardworking, and its motto "schaffa,
schaffa, HOsIe baua" translates to "Work, work, and build a little house." While the
single-family home continued to be the prevalent housing type, the strong desire for
home ownership contributed to urban sprawl and put home owners under enormous
financial pressure. An important question arose among architects: who are we building
for if most people cannot afford their own house? Hans Purin, one of the pioneers of the
new architecture movement, offered a solution to the problem with the design of the
housing estate "Halde" in Bludenz in 1964. A framework of massive masonry walls was
provided, which could then be filled in by future residents using a system of lightweight
timber-framed floors and walls, allowing the owners to complete approximately
20 percent of the construction themselves. The project served as an excellent example
for simple, cost-efficient, and collaborative building. According to Austria's most wellknown architectural critic Friedrich Achleitner, the Halde housing estate "still belongs
to the most respectable achievements in Austrian residential construction." (XI] [13-1S] The
newly formed Cooperative, a group of young architects consisting of Dietmar Eberle,
Wolfgang Juen, Markus Koch, and Norbert Mittersteiner, used a similar approach in
1979 when designing the " lrn Fang" housing estate. In cooperation with their clients,
they were looking to develop alternative ways of living and building together. Timber
was the building material of choice, since it was easy to process without the need for
heavy machinery or highly skilled workers, and also allowed for simple structural systems


140 Construction Systems

with a large amount of flexibility. While professional carpenters erected the primary
timber-framed structure, the floors, walls, glazing, winter gardens, and cladding were
completed by the young architects and future residents. This made the project financially
viable for everyone involved and allowed for individual variations and the creation of
communal living spaces unprecedented on the housing market at that time. [XIII][1.10- 11)

13-15 Halde housing developments. Bludenz. 19&t




(Hans Pu"n)

At times, the simplest, most efficient way to produce a particular building element
influenced design decisions more than purely formal aspects, which resulted in a new
aesthetic that was initially rejected by the general population and the building authorities.
Although the new timber houses were disparagingly called chicken coops or barns,
since their appearance contradicted the popular expectations of a privately owned
home at that time, the experience gained in working on these low-cost projects allowed
the architects in Vorarlberg to develop professional and logistic skills that addressed all
aspects of the building process. The quality of the built environment reached a new level,
which ultimately impressed and increasingly convinced the large building cooperatives,
construction companies, and local authorities. The resulting simplicity, rationality, and
minimal aesthetic were not the product oftheoretically applied ideas, but the outcome
of a profession aspiring to make a step-by-step transition from traditional craftsmanship
to customized industrial fabrication. Straightforward modern construction methods
were employed , with the goal of minimizing the use of material while generating a
maximum amount of enclosed space. Once understood, this approach suited the native
population's highly developed sense of value for money. [ XIV)
The architects' approach was supported by local building law which differed from the
rest of Austria, since Vorarlberg did not require an architectural license to submit a
building permit for approval. As a result, the members of the Cooperative, as well as
many other individuals including Hermann Kaufmann, Helmut Dietrich, Carlo Baumschlager, and Wolfgang Ritsch, were able to start building right out of architecture
school without having to go through any type of extended internship training. Eventually,
the new movement became so popular and successful that the Austrian architects'
registration board felt the need to intervene, since the designers neither sat the state
registration exam nor paid any of the high membership fees. In an act of civil disobedience, a group of sixteen rebellious planners united to form the "Gesellschaft Vorarlberger BaukOnstler" (Society ofVorarlberg Building Artists). Three of its members were
already facing legal action, and the newly founded association consolidated funds to
cover their legal fees. The entire controversy about the right to practice was widely
debated in the media, and in the end resulted in a compromise between the national
board and the group. [xv)


The new timber construction movement can be considered a contemporary answer to

Vorarlberg's existing building traditions, and it served asthe basis for the region's unique
architectural renewal. With wide acceptance in the population, the local architects
have moved away from merely designing and building single-family houses and are
taking on larger commissions including schools, office buildings, industrial facilities,
fire stations, museums, and multi-family housing. Since timber does not always offer
the most suitable solutions for many of these building tasks, the architects are increasingly looking to steel, concrete, and masonry. Through building predominantly with
timber, they have developed a rigor and expertise as part of their disciplined design
process that has proven useful when employing other building materials and construction
techniques. This also applies to the building trades, and it is particularly evident in the
carpenters' skillful design of concrete formwork, which leads to fair-faced finishes of
exceptionally high quality. While a large percentage of new buildings continue to be
primarily constructed out of timber, the impulses initiated by the second generation
pioneers in the 1980s and 1990Sserve as fertile ground for further advancement, allowing
young architects freedom for experimentation and innovation . Today, they continue to
build upon these solid foundations .
Numerous municipalities have established design advisory committees to serve as an
interface between building professionals, the local authorities, and the overall population. As active members of these bodies, architects advise the local communities on
planning and building matters and play an integral role in the shaping of the future built
environment. Due to an increase in population, the fabric of Vorarlberg's urban landscape has changed dramatically since the 1960s. The 29 independent municipalities in
the Rhine river valley in particular have transformed into an almost continuous, lowdensity agglomeration of villages and towns. Over the last few decades, the population
has come to realize that the social, ecological, and economical concepts and principles
the architects have developed for individual buildings need to be applied on an urban
scale. The local government has therefore launched the research project " Vision Rheintal," which looks at settlement patterns, transportation, economy, landscape, and
social infrastructure in order to ensure sustainable growth in the future. The region's
unique and sensitive approach to building provides convincing evidence ofthe architects' involvement in solving the problems and addressing the needs of the society in
which they live. As a result, many ofVorarlberg's architects enjoy an international reputation today, and they teach at universities and build in, among other countries, Germany,
Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and China.



rt; IMu"

h v r1~


1\ ,Lande und val kund Geschlchl

und ~un 1 \lararlb'g 8and 111. q


agmei te r, HolloaukunSlln vorartberq.

Will cna]:

Ibid .. 5.

VI lech, Hollbaulen In Vo,arlbe'g. 7

m i l r Haul


vot sru '9 .

VIII Kapfmge,. ConS/fuCllve Provocal,on. 47

lech, Hollbaulen ,n vorartberq fIn OokumenlOl/on
de' lelll n '0 Jah,

I Ffledflch Achle'lne,. OSlerrelch,sche Arch,leklur

,m '0. sonmunaen 80nd I (SallburgfVl nna: ReSidenz
Verlag. 1980), 399.
XII 1 ch, Hollbau len


vororlberg, 4' 52.

XIII Kapfinger, -The vorarlberg Schoo l of Arctntecture." 13.

XIV Ib'd . 24
XV Ibid .. 13-15 .


Housing Development Miihlweg, Vienna

Hermann Kaufmann + Johannes Kaufmann

Exporting Expertise
In 2003 , the Vienna Land Procurement and urban Renewal Fund held an open competition with the goal of constructing a zso-unrt housing development using timber or
hybrid timber construction. Within the framework of its climate protection program,
the city wanted to demonstrate that it was feasible to employ timber construction techniques for the construction of affordable housing in urban settings while adhering to
low-energy standards . Besides the consideration of urban planning, ecological , and
financial aspects, the appropriate use oftimber as building material was to be explored
and evaluated. The local building regulations had only recently been amended to allow
the construction of multistory timber buildings within the city limits of Austria's capital.
This new development at Vienna's outskirts is Europe's largest housing estate employing
timber construction techniques to date. The site had been divided into three separate
parcels , and two of the three winning architecture firms were from Vorarlberg. Each of
them brought a remarkable amount of t imber construction experience to the table,
thus contributing to the export of local expertise to other parts of the country. In addition to the submissions by Graz-based architect Hubert Riess and the architecture
office of Dietrich Untertrifaller, Johannes Kaufmann and Hermann Kaufmann's joint
design project was selected for implementation .
Their proposal puts forward urban considerations and demonstrates the potential of
timber as building material in the creation of high-quality living spaces. Johannes and
Hermann Kaufmann's site-specific solution forms a permeable link between the monotonous 1960s residential blocks to the west and the adjacent open green fields to the
east. Three building volumes have been pushed to the perimeter of the site and create
an internal courtyard in the center, which, even though well-defined , opens up to the
surroundings. Through this , the transition to the landscape of the adjoining Marchfeld
area is not cut off but retained. One of the outdoor spaces formed by the buildings '
massing is a quaint and sunny playground which can also be enjoyed by residents in the
adjacent existing neighborhood across the street.





144 Housing Development MOhlweg. Vienna

Urban planning strategies were elemental in generating the geometry and positioning
of the building volumes on the site, and the variation of dwelling unit typologies reacts
to these site-specific conditions. The architects' goal was to provide as many south and west-facing apartments as possible and to offer a range of different floor plan
layouts. The buildings' circulation typologies vary and form spatially compelling and
inviting spaces which offer numerous opportunities for interaction between residents.
The creation of unappealing and monotonous circulation spaces, which are often found
in affordable housing developments, can be avoided. The two L-shaped structures are
accessed through external stairs and walkways, where one of each of the buildings'
wings has a double-loaded corridor. The third building consists of an elongated rectangular volume which houses multistory units . Each apartment unit features a generous
private outdoor space in the form of a terrace or loggia. All of the buildings' main
entrances open up to the surround ing streets as well as the interior courtyard , which fosters the site's permeability and allows residents easy access to the central open space.
Even though an additional rooftop level had been approved, the architects refrained
from its addition, and thus each of the buildings consists of merely four stories . Their
restrained volumes and simple vocabulary are in harmony with the urban concept.

The housing development's basement and ground floor levels are made of site-cast
reinforced concrete while the three upper floors are entirely constructed out of timber.
The upper-level floor slabs and loadbearing interior walls consist of large-format prefabricated laminated timber panels. Vertical loads are transferred by these wall elements
while the solid floor slabs function as continuous beams and span perpendicularly
across. Their exposed wooden undersides form the ceiling finish inside the individual
apartment units. These timber wall and floor panels possess excellent material properties . Their multilayered cross-laminated structure makes them particularly resistant to
deformation through temperature and humidity changes typically experienced with solid
timber products. In addition, their large formats of up to 3 m by is m allow for a high
level of prefabrication, easy installation, and reduce the amount of necessary joints
which proves advantageous for fire protection purposes . Most of the exterior walls do
not have to carry any loads, which made it possible to use non-load bearing, highly
insulated timber facade panels. These prefabricated lightweight elements are clad with
rear-ventilated vertical larch boards on the outside and are finished with gypsum board
on the inside . wood windows and cladding systems are pre-installed in the factory. The
external circulation walkways are steel structures and sit in front of the timber structure,
while their non-flammable decks are made of precast concrete elements.


146 Housing Development Milhlweg. Vienna

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24 mm larch cladding boards
30 mm ventilated cavity
Building paper
Parapet element, consisting of : 15 mm
gypsum fiberboard , 100 mm framing,
15 mm gypsum fiberboard

Roof, U = 0.16W/m'K
15 mm gravel fill
Two-ply bituminous roofing membrane
Bitum inous fireproofing membrane
160-250 mm rigid insulation , laid to fall
vapor barrier
12Bmm laminated timber panel
Suspended ceiling 12.5 mm plaster
substrate board

Laminated safety glass fixed to steel
section 60 x 120 x 6.3 mm
Laminated safety glass louvers

Bituminous roofing membrane
150-290 mm precast concrete element
10 mm elastomeric bearing
Steel beam HEB1BO
Exterior wall , U = 0.14W/m'K
12.5 mm plaste r substrate board
15 mm gypsum fiberboard
240 mm insulat ion between t imber framing
15 mm gypsum fiberboard
Vapor barrier
50 mm rock wool insulat ion
12.5 mm gypsum board

Steel pipe 101.6 x 8.8

Balustrade , flat steel bar 50/8
40 mm man-made stone tile on pedestals
Bituminous waterproofing membrane
Leveling layer
146 mm laminated timber panel
suspended ceil ing
12.5 mm plaster substrate board
10 mm finished floor
60 mm screed
vapor barrier
30 mm mineral wool impact sound insulation
94 mm bed of loose fill
146 mm laminated timber panel , unders ide

150 mm fire protection overhang, consisti ng
of sheet metal flash ing supported by steel
angle , underside larch board

10 mm finished floor
60 mm screed
Vapor barr ier
30 mm mineral wool impact sound insulat ion
180 mm reinforced concrete slab
15 mm tiles
140-155 mm precast concrete element
10 mm elastomeric bearing
40 mm man-made stone tile in gravel bed
120 mm thermal insulat ion
Waterproofing membrane
Leveling layer
350 mm reinforced concrete slab , laid to fall
Floor, U = 0.22 W/m'K
10 mm floor finish
60 mm screed
vapor barrier
30 mm mineral wool impact sound insulat ion
120 mm thermal insulation
350 mm reinforced concrete slab
Exterior wall , U = 0.24 W/m'K
12.5 mm plaster substrate board
180 mm mineral wool thermal insulati on
200 mm reinforced concrete wall

148 Housing Development MUhlweg, Vienna




All facades including those of the reinforced-concrete ground floor use identical material
finishes in order to unify each building into a homogenous volume. The untreated wooden
facades express the buildings' structural timber systems on the outside and are used in
combination with colored shutters. Flush mounting ofthe facade materials ensures an
even weathering of all wooden surfaces. an aspect of utmost importance for the acceptance of the building's aging over time by its residents. Eventually, this effect will intensify
the contrasting play of colors with the juxtaposed shutters and recessed loggias.
According to Vienna's building regulations at the time, only facade claddings made of
hardwoods such as oak or acacia fulfilled the strict fire safety standards for four-story
residential construction. Since a hardwood facade was cost-prohibitive, the architects
developed an alternative solution in collaboration with Holzforschung Austria, the
country's leading research and testing institute for timber. Fire tests with prototype
designs were conducted in order to achieve the required fire ratings. The results of the
research project allowed the use of larch cladding in combination with 150 mm fire
protection overhangs in-between floors. These continuous horizontal wooden sills are
clad in sheet metal and positioned to serve as the supports and guides for the sliding
shutter system. Through this, a design solution was found that not only addressed fire
protection issues, but also satisfied aesthetic and financial concerns.
Energy Concept

A straightforward energy concept was employed in order to conform to Austria's lowenergy standard . The entire development's heating energy demand of 38 kWh/m 2a is
achieved through the use of high-quality wood windows and heavily insulated wall
build -ups. Heating energy is provided by a conventional condensing gas boiler while a
network of low-temperature pipes (60/40'C) distributes the heat to the individual
apartment units. A 168 m2 solar heating system supplies 50 percent of the annual hot
water demand. The south-facing solar panels are located on the elongated building's
flat roof and are set at an angle of 45 percent. A central storage tank is heated by the
solar collectors and provides each apartment with hot water through a heavily insulated
pipe system which minimizes heating energy losses.

r-- -

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Hugo Kleinbrod Chapel. Lustenau

Hugo Dworzak

The Church Comes

to the People
Based at the Reichshofstadion, the soccer club SC Austria Lustenau is famous for its
celebrations after home games. Following matches, its players and supporters enjoy
themselves in the "Austrian Village," a grouping of temporary concession booths .
Located right next to the soccer stadium stands, the little ensemble provides food and
drinks for about 4,000 visitors. The president of the soccer club observed that "each
village has a church , or at least a chapel," and decided to add a spiritual side to the
village's current commercial and secular character. However, the construction of only
temporary structures was allowed, and no additional building permits were supposed
to be issued. As a result, the design of a small chapel was developed not only as a temporary solution , but as a mobile structure with the option of moving it to another location
at any given time.
Equipped with wheels, the idea was to bring the place of worship to the people rather
than the other way around . The chapel's dimensions of 2.5 m by 5 m correspond to the
size of a standard parking space, meaning that the building can be relocated and
"parked" anytime and anywhere; and its overall height of 4.85 m allows for easy transport under bridges and overpasses. Employing a simple rectangular floor plan and a
pitched roof, architect Hugo Dworzak decided to make the chapel's exterior shape
reminiscent of traditional places of worship. The equilateral triangle forming the gable
symbolizes the trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. During everyday use, the chapel
offers seating for nine worshippers while a small door at the front serves asthe entrance.
However, the mobile structure can be moved to the playing field for bigger events and
ceremonies, where it can open up to accommodate a larger audience . Through folding
up its walls on three sides, the chapel's interior expands to the outside allowing it to
engage a larger crowd . The wall surfaces turn into cantilevering roofs which form the
shape of the Holy Cross if seen from above.


152 Hugo Klembro

d Chapel. Lustenau




, ..




The chapel's simple structural frame consists of 2 x 4 timber members. Inside, its wall,
floor, and ceiling surfaces are entirely clad with horizontal wooden slats which help to
generate a warm atmosphere. Consisting of a white textile membrane, the exterior skin
is evocative of atent, emphasizing the building's mobile and nomadic character. Daylight
penetrates through the translucent fabric and wooden slats, making windows unnecessary, while at night, fluorescent lights embedded between the inner and outer shell
illuminate the interior and signal the chapel's sacred nature to its surroundings. The
holy Christian symbol appears twice in the little building : the door handle consists of a
crucifix, and the slatted wall behind the altar is cut out in the shape of a cross. The
chapel also contains a bell which was designed by artist udo Rabensteiner. Even though
the little structure is usually located at the stadium, it can sometimes be seen traveling
the streets of Lustenau on the way to a wedding or baptism.
The chapel was named after priest Hugo Kleinbrod who upon return from imprisonment
during the war took it upon himself to look after poor children and orphans. Besides
founding the Vorarlberg Children's Village, an organization which focuses on the familybased, long-term care of children who can no longer grow up with their biological
families, he also established a soccer club for the local boys of Lustenau, providing
them with a sense of belonging and identity.







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Tschabrun Logistics Center, RankweiL

Christian Lenz

All About Wood

Conveniently located in a business park in Rankweil, this project is immediately adjacent
to the Autobahn A14, vorarlberg's main artery, which runs through the entire Rhine river
valley. The building serves as the main distribution center for the region's largest supplier of wood products and consolidates four previously used smaller storage facilities.
The client wanted to create a contemporary timber structure that would demonstrate
the many advantages of wood as a building material, including reduced construction
time, cost-effective but sophisticated and energy-efficient design solutions, as well as
the preservation of natural resources through the careful use of renewable building
Particular emphasis was put on choosing locally sourced materials to create a contemporary commercial facility. Most of the building materials used for the construction of
the new logistics center were taken right out of the company's own product catalogue,
so the build ing serves as an effective billboard for the firm's corporate image and business

The large, dark-colored building volume with black, box-shaped skylights and circular
window openings has a strong presence. At 120 m by 105 m, it constitutes one of Central
Europe's largest storage facilities made of structural timber. Except for the reinforcedconcrete columns, the entire building including structure, walls, and ceilings, is made
of wood. Resting on the columns are 4.60 m-deep laminated timber trusses which span


,, ,,






156 Tschabrun Logist ics Center. Rankweil



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Roof. U = 0.24 w/m'K
10 mm two -ply bitu minous membrane
wit h granulated slate surface
160 mm rigid thermal insulatio n in two layers
5 mm foil -laminated bitum inous vapor barrier
22 mm orient ed strand board

10 0 x 280 mm t imbe r pur lin

160 x 280 mm t imber edge purlin
160 x 660-750 mm laminated ti mber beam

Ext erior wall . U = 0 .31 W/m' K
8 mm phenolic resin board
100 mm furring strips with ventilated cavity
in-bet ween
waterpro ofi ng membr ane
180 x 10 0 mm hori zontal t imbe r members
with 160 mm rock wool insulat ion in-between
24 mm composit e t imb er board

160 x 400 mm laminated t imber column
Reinforced concrete slab on piers


27 m and serve as primary structural members. Glued laminated beams (160 mm by

1,100-1,280 mm) spanning 18 m form the secondary system, while oriented strand


. ..'"

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boards are supported by 100 mm by 280 mm solid-sawn timber purlins holding up an

8 m span. The entire building is braced through fixed precast-concrete column connections, and K-bracing is used in the facade plane at regular int ervals.
To accommodate heavy-duty cantilever shelving systems and block storage configurations, the building's floor slab is supported on 950 piers with an average depth of 12 m.
The decision to install a sprinkler system through the entire building made it possible to
avoid the separation of the space into individual fire compartments. These provisions
allow the new 13,200 m2 building to provide plenty of space with the maximum amount
of flexibility expected of a distribution facility this size.
The exterior is clad in phenolic resin boards, and every effort was made to minimize any
potential cut-off waste early in the building's planning stages. Rational and efficient on
the inside, the building appears playful on the outside. Circular openings are set into
the facade and are evocative of floating soap bubbles. To minimize construction costs,
these windows do not use an elaborate framing system, but are inserted into the facade
using simple gaskets found in vehicle manufacturing.
The consolidation offour smaller storage facilities into one centrally located distribution
center serves as the basis for the company's improved performance and efficiency. This
effort is supported by state-of-the-art logistics operations, which incl ude the use of the
latest logistics software for routing, loading, and unloading of the company's truck
fleet. Additionally, the streamlining of individual processes such as the pre-loading of
goods on pallets significantly reduces vehicle idle t ime and contributes to the reduction
in operating costs. While deliveries are currently done exclusively by truck, a change to
a container-based operation could easily be accomplished by retrofitting the logistics
center with gantry cranes.
Combining the company's operations in one central Vorarlberg location also turns out
to be an environmentally-friendly solution, since it not only allows faster delivery of the
company's products to the local builders and craftsmen, but also reduces transportation
distances and saves resources. The completion of the logistics center is an excellent
example of how smart design solutions can have a positive impact on business operations. The new building has allowed the company to improve its logistics, and at the
same time, it retains the flexibility to compete and adapt in an ever-changing market.




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Hospital Dornbirn
Gohm & Hiessberger

Floating Featherweight
Hospitals are buildings that are constantly undergoing redevelopment. They are continuously faced with the latest technical and functional innovat ions, which then require
complex modifications and additions to the existing building fabric. Two decades after
its completion, the hospital ofVorarlberg's largest city, Dornbirn, required restructuring.
The intensive care units were increased in size and connected with the operating rooms,
new correspond ing staff rooms had to be provided , and the hospital's main entrance and
emergency room were reconfigured and remodeled . Administrative and doctors' offices
were completely moved out ofthe existing building and relocated in a new addition .
The project's major challenge was the fact that the only space available for a potential
addition was above the existing underground parking garage, which had been built in
1983 but could not provide the structural support for a multistory building on top of it .
Requiring utmost planning precision, the architects Markus Gohm and Ulf Hiessberger
solved the problem with a lightweight steel structure resting at the places where the
parking garage's roof slab could be reinforced to support the additional load. The new
two-story, nearly 70 m long volume hovers in the air between the existing hospital building
and the canopies of the sycamore trees lining the street, and is only supported by a few
slender steel columns and two concrete staircase cores. The architects' bold design
proposal not only maximizes the space generated for the hospital, but also constitutes
an intervention on an urban scale, increasing density within the city fabric, while still
leaving room for green space.

-- -1--- 1

- I"..u -----..



160 Hospital Dornbirn

I --












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1, - - -







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The elevation of the addition was conceived not only for structural reasons, but also to
improve the functionality of the hospital's operations. A bridge links the new offices
with the intensive care units on the second level of the old building, creating a direct
connection and thus minimizing walking distances. Furthermore, it ensures that the
visual connections to the main entrance from the street and the surrounding neighborhood can be maintained, and that wayfinding in the hospital grounds is left intact. The
construction of the new building was followed by renovation of the existing wards and
treatment areas in the original building. The refurbishment of the intensive care units
needed to address the different and occasionally even conflicting needs of patients and
medical staff: the requirement for tranquillity was juxtaposed with sometimes extremely
stressful activities. Lighting, color, and materiality combine to create a positive setting
for patients. The functional design of the spaces reduces the time needed for routine
tasks. The intensive care units, operating rooms, and staff rooms were completed in the
summer of 2005, to be followed by the outpatient facilities on the first floor, and the
remodeling of main entrance and cafe on the ground floor.

The 7.5 m-tall steel columns (407 mm by 10 mm) support 720 mm-deep welded steel
beams. The entire two-story building volume above consists of a lightweight structural
steel frame which cantilevers up to 10 m and two reinforced-concrete staircase cores
provide lateral bracing for the entire structure. Subtle finishes on the exterior provide
an understated elegance which reduces the building's mass visually, making it appear
almost weightless: the underside is clad in shimmering aluminum sandwich panels, and
silver-painted prefabricated timber elements with dark-colored wood windows were
chosen for the vertical facades due to the ir lightweight nature . A delicate fixed glazing
system wraps around the entire building, forming a double envelope enclosure. In the
summer, the new addition almost disappears in the dense foliage of the sycamore trees.
The sophisticated technical and structural solutions ofthe design are suppressed, and
give way to a more expressive interior, in which the office spaces are clearly arranged on
two levels around a glass-covered atrium. Each individual office looks out onto the
atrium space through a full-height and soundproof fixed glass partition, while privacy
can be achieved through lowering an opaque textile roller shade when desired. The
combination of vast amounts of glazing on the interior and exterior creates a building
with ultimate transparency, allowing far-reaching visual relationships on the inside, as
well as panoramic views of the city.
The interior's warm finishes and colorful materials, large amounts of daylighting, and
excellent acoustics generate an atmosphere which extends beyond the commonly
expected sterile hospital setting. The flexible partitioning system separating the individual offices is made from rich chestnut wood . Brick-red resin flooring, yellow and
green roller shades, as well as the white balustrades on the upper level all contribute to
the creation of a friendly and inviting healthcare environment.

162 Hospital Dornb irn

2 x 5 mm lam inated safet y glass

853 mm vent ilated facade cavity
203 mm prefabricated timber el ement ,
consisting of :
- 12 mm compos ite t imber board
- 30 mm mi neral wool thermal insulation
- 12 mm orie nted st rand board
- 120 mm thermal insula tion
- 19 mm la minated veneer lumber boa rd
- 10 mm cement -bo nded fiberboard
Vapor retarder
150 mm service s cavity
20 mm interior fi nish


Steel beam HEA 220

Motorized exte rn al shade

Alum in um ventilation louvers

Steel colum n FR120/200/10
f-- 8

I---, 9


Roof, U = 0.12W/m ' K
Modular metal roofing system , cons ist ing of :
- ribbed roofi ng panel
- purli ns for 3% slope
- waterproofing membrane
- insulat ed coffe red sheet metal ceiling panel
- insula ted sheet met al profi le
Fire -rated ceiling consisting of 2 x 12.5 mm
gypsum board with sandwiched vapor barr ier
Services cavit y
12.5 mm suspe nded acoust ical ceili ng
with lam inated acoust ical mat

Triple glazing, U : 0.7 W/m 'K

Floor, U - 0.13W/ m'K
3 mm epoxy resin floor
72 mm screed
Vapor retarder
25 mm impact sound insulati on
70 mm bed of lig htw eight fill
50 mm corr ugat ed metal dec king
Cavity with 50 mm thermal insulat ion
30 mm orie nted strand board
150 mm mineral wool thermal insulat ion
Suspended compos ite cla dding panel ,
consist ing of two alum inum sheet s
heat-bo nded t o a polye t hylene core

3 mm epo xy resin floor
72 mm screed
Vapor retarder
2S mm impact sound insulat ion
70 mm bed of lightweight fill
50 mm corr ugated meta l decking
Fire- rated ceili ng consisti ng of 50 mm
insu lation on top of 2 x 15 mm gypsum board
350 mm serv ices cavity
12.5 mm suspended acoustical ceili ng with
lam inated acou stical mat

Welded stee l beam, w=400
taperi ng to h=550 mm

Steel beam HEA 300

Steel grating

rnm, h- 720 mm

Steel beam s, ranging from IPE360 to IPE 600




Energy Concept
Since the addition consists of a lightweight steel structure with timber infill panels, the
challenge was to create a comfortable indoor climate for a building with relatively little
mass. Therefore, the building services were closely coordinated with the actual thermal
comfort requirements and were optimized through simulation, making it possible to
develop an energy concept which provides a high level of comfort with a relatively low
energy consumption of 45.7 kWh/m 2a. The building's main components include highquality triple glazing with a u-value of 0.7 W/m 2K, advanced solar shading devices for
offices and the atrium roof, a ventilation system with heat recovery, as well as an
underfloor heating system, which can be used for cooling during the summer. The double
facade also serves as a climatic buffer space and protects the actual thermal envelope
as well as the retractable solar shading system from wind and rain.
The hospital's expansion and refurbishment is yet another example of how perceptions
and paradigms have changed in healthcare design over the past decade. Rather than
continuing in the tradition of the 1970S and 1980s, when large architecture firms
designed massive and anonymous medical complexes, there has been a return to an
architecture that is more focused on an attention to detail at a smaller scale. The new
trend is to create comfortable, functional, and user-friendly environments with plenty
of daylight, high-quality materials and finishes, despite the need for increasingly
complicated building services and technical medical equipment.




r r


Nordwesthaus, FuBach
Baumschlager Eberle

Light and Shadow

Located on Lake Constance, the club house concludes a three-phase transformation
process that has seen the gradual conversion of an old gravel pit int o a marina . By
avoiding any picturesque references, the clear and simple geometries of all architectural
interventions contrast with the surrounding natural setting. In 2000, architects Carlo
Baumschlager and Dietmar Eberle finished the first phase with the completion of the
elevated port office. The concrete tube cantilevers over 10 m and offers lakeside views
for the marina owner. The second stage followed in 2004 and involved the actual harbor
wall itself which was constructed out of local stone, providing a sustainable habitat for
waterborne plants and wildlife. As juxtaposition to the port office, the club house
represents the final stage of the waterside development. The new monolithic 14 m high
structure appears to float, rising directly out of the water.

-.--I.- -..


-. --.-;-

.... .




166 Nordwesthaus. FuBach

Next to the boat dock and moorings, the building houses a space for boat storage and
maintenance at water level. A mezzanine floor contains bathrooms and stairs and
provides access from the landside to the club room above. This dramatic 8.80 m tall
multipurpose space serves as meeting venue for the sailing community. The building's
irregular biomorphic concrete structure is clad with rectangular glass panels, whose
surfaces have been mechanically modified to reduce the stark contrast between core
and envelope. The translucent glass skin filters and reflects natural and artificial light,
creating a changing play of light and shadow on the inside and outside. Views out are
intentionally limited to two glazed openings which are set into deep concrete reveals.
During the day, the gathering space is transformed into a kaleidoscope of its surroundings, while reflections from the water surface seem to generate constant movement on
the glass facades. At night , the integrated ceiling lights in combination with feature
lighting on the concrete structure itself provide an x-ray projection of the building's
internal organization which is visible from afar.

The entire structural system consists of site-cast reinforced concrete and was developed
in close collaboration with the structural engineers. The design is based on a 7 m by 14 m
box with a height of 14 m and is supported on foundation piles which rest on the floor of
the harbor basin. To achieve lightness and transparency, the exterior walls of the box
were dissolved through the introduction of vertical openings, thus pushing the limits of
the structural system. The remaining column-like structure in the lower third section is
connected and braced by the club room's concrete floor slab. In the upper third , the
column segments reunite to form a more solid wall surface. The result is a concrete
structure with very delicate appearance. An efficient formwork concept had to be
developed to keep construction costs within the available budget. For the purpose of
placing the concrete, the building was subdivided into five sections in elevation and two
sections in plan. This division into ten independent pouring stages allowed the repetitive
use of individual formwork elements. All exterior and interior wall surfaces were formed
using a standard panelized steel formwork system. A modular system consisting of
600 mm long reusable wooden formwork segments was developed to accommodate
the curved reveal surfaces . The total number of elements was limited: three radii were
provided in both a convex and concave form, resulting in six different elements. Various
combinations of these three radii made it possible to form each curve, allowing the
creation of non-repetitive shapes with the use of repetitive formwork .


5 ---1~ '



Double glazing laid to fall. consist ing of :
8 mm Toughened safety glass ICE-H
20 mm Air space
6 mm Toughened safety glass
Anti-shatter film
50 mm Gravel fill 16/32
Waterproofing membrane
180 mm Polystyrene rigid thermal insulation
vapor barrier
300 mm Reinforced concrete

Roof substructure
Flat steel bar 80/10 black
Double glazing, lamin ated to alum inum
profile anodized bla ck

Wall bracket and fixing
Flat steel bar black

Exterior wall
Double glazing. consisting of :
8 mm Toughened safety glass ICE-H
18 mm Air space
6 mm Toughened safet y glass
250 mm Facade cavity
300 mm Reinforced concrete

Plinth cladding
single glazing


300 mm Reinfo rced concrete slab

168 Nordwesthaus . FuBach



1: 400



__ J

I" floor 1:400

For the production of the glass panes, a centuries-old manufacturing process was
revived. This unique technique involves the careful chipping of the glass surface, resulting
in a finish with varying degrees of opacity, translucency, and transparency. The appearance and variations of these patterns seem to have been taken straight from nature,
since they can best be compared to ice crystals which form on a window pane during a
cold winter day. The process produces translucent finishes without the need to apply
colors or add layers of any other materials, and can be used with all types of glass.
Along the perimeter of the building, steel plates attached to the concrete structure
support horizontal alum inum mullions. The indiv idual 3 m by '.60 m double glassed
units are glued into these mullions without the use of any additional mechanical fixings,
allowing the creation of a smooth and abstract external skin. Sixof the large glass panels
are operable elements which can be opened for ventilation. Seamlessly integrated into the
envelope, they employ a crank mechanism with ropes commonly found in boatbuilding.
Baumschlager Eberle developed the interior lighting concept in close collaboration
with several lighting manufacturers. Bychoosing to illuminate the curved reveal surfaces,
a softening of the hard concrete edges was achieved. A multicolored LED fixture was
specifically developed for this purpose, it constrains the light direction to the lit reveals
while at the same time minimizing glare . Recessed into the site-cast concrete, color
and intensity of the 1,6 light fixtures can be programmed through a digitally controlled
management system. Continuously changing daylight conditions and atmospheric
lighting effects at night strongly influence the user experience. The club house's
architecture exploits the tension that exists between nature and the manmade, opacity
and transparency, light and shadow, and day and night.

170 Proje ct Summary

Elementary School Doren

Client : Gemeinde Doren Immo bilienverwaltungs GmbH & Co KEG
Arch itect: cukrowicz .na ch baur architekten , Bregenz
Proj ect Team: Georg Bechter, Marku s Cukrowicz
Construction Manageme nt: Albrecht Bau- &
Proje ktmanagement , Dornb irn
Structural Engineering: Mader + Fl at z, Bregenz
Geot echn ics: 3P Geot ec hnik , Lauterach
Mechan ica l Engineering: Werner Cukrowicz, Lauterach
El ectrical Engineering: mgen ieurbllro Meusburger
Ele ktrote ch nik, Bezau
Buil d ing Physics and Acoustics: Spektrum , Dorn birn
Dat e of Completion : 2003

Commun ity Center St. Gerold

Client : Gemeinde St. Gerol d Imm obil ie nverwa ltu ngs
GmbH & Co KG
Archit ect : cuk row icz .nachbaur architekten , Bregenz
proj ect Manageme nt : Stefan Abbrede ris
Proj ect Team: Christ ian schrnotz, Michael Abt
Con st r uct ion Management: Alb recht Bau- &
Proj ekt management , Do rn birn
Structural Engineering : M + G Ingenieure, Feld kirch
tngenleu rburo Burt scher, Raggal
Geot echnics: Geotek Donz + Mahr
Mechanic al Engineering: T8 Cukrowicz , Lauterach
Elect rical Engin eering: Lingg Elektroplanung, schoppernau
Buil d ing Physics: Bern hard Weit has, Hard
Ecology : Spektr um , Dornbirn
Dat e of Comp letio n: 2009

Ski Lodge Schneggarei

Clie nt : Sch neider Famil y, Lech am Arlberg
Arch it ect : Kat ia Schnei der + Gerold Schneider,
All meind e Arch it ekt ur, Lech am Arl berg
Phil ip Lut z, Loch au
Proj ect Managemen t : Wolfgang Braungardt
Const r uction Managem ent : M&G Ingenieur e, Feld kir ch
Structural Engineer ing: M&G Ingenieure, Feld kir ch
Light ing Design : Halotech , Inns br uck
Timber Construct ion and Carpent ry: Michael Kaufmann , Reuthe
Dat e of Completion: 2002

Par ish Church st. Ulrich

Cli ent : pfarr ei St. Ulrich, Got zis
Architect : Christian Lenz ZT GmbH, Schwarzach
Proj ect Team: Phillipp Berkt old, Gerhard Matt , Michael Pasl er
Cost Plann ing and Construct ion Manageme nt:
Elmar Gmeiner, Schwarzach
Stru ctural Engineering: Mader + Flatz , Bregenz
Mechanical Engineering : Rein hard Moser Planu ngsburo ,
Satt eins
Elect ric al Engineering: BIW-Pl anu ngsburo fur
El ekt rot echnik, Tschagguns
Landscape Pl ann ing: Barbara Bacher, Linz
Dat e of complet io n: 2008

Metzler Residence
Cli ent : Sabi ne and Reinhard Metzl er
Arch it ect : Mart e Marte Arch it ekt en, Weil er
Proj ect Management : Cleme ns Metzl er
St r uct ur al Engineer ing: M + G Ingenieur e, Feld kir ch
Geotec hnic s: 3P Geotec hnik , Laut erach
Mechanic al Engineering: Do rfi nst all at eur, Feldki rc h
Elect rical Engineering: Reisegger Elekt ro, Feldkirch
Build ing Physics: Bernh ard Weit has, Hard
Dat e of Compl et ion: 2007

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Rauch Residence
Cli ent : Lehm Ton Erd e Gmb H, Schli ns
Architect : planungsgemeinschaft Lehmh aus
Roger sot ts hauser, Zuric h
Marti n Rauch , Schli ns
proj ect Managm ent : Thom as Kamm
proj ect Team : Arian e Wil son , Andr eas Skamb as
St r uct ural Engineering: Josef Tom asell i
Rammed Earth Const ru ct ion : Mart in Rauch +
co nst r uction t eam , foreman: Jo hannes Moll
Carpe nt ry : Manf red Bisch of
Ceramics : Marta Rauch -Debevec. Sebast ian Rauch
Dat e of Complet io n: 2008

Ruscher Residence
Clie nt : Christian Ruscher
Arch it ect : Oskar Leo Kaufm ann, Albert Ruf, Dorn birn
Str uctural Engi neering: Mad er + Flatz , Bregenz
Elect rical Engineer ing: Albrich Wern er, Schnepfau
Prefab ri cat ed Timb er Panels : Thom a Hol z GmbH , Gold egg
Dat e of Comple tion: 2003

community Center Ubersaxen

Clie nt : Gemei nde immobiliengesells chaft Obersaxen
Arc hitec t : Matthias Hein, Bregenz
proj ect Team : Michael Abt , Juri Troy, Carme n Hottinger,
Mark us Cukrowicz
Proj ect Managemen t : Gern ot Thurn her, Feldkirch
Stru ctural Engineering: Made r + Flatz , Bregenz
Mech anical Engineering: Kli mapl an, Rankweil
Elect rical Engineering : w olfgang Dorn er, Muntlix
Build ing Physics and Acoust ics: Karl Torghele , Dorn birn
Dat e of Comp letion : 2004

Olperer House
Cli ent : Deut sch er Alp enverein e.V.
Arc hit ect : Hermann Kaufm ann ZT Gmb H, Schwarzach
Proj ect Team : Cla udia GreuBling, Julia Nagele -Kung , Gerold
Hamm erl e
Constructi on Management : Ernst Pfeifer
St r uct ural Engineer ing: Merz Kaufmann Part ner, Dornbirn
Mech anical Engineering : Walter Ingenie ure, v elbu rg
Elect ric al Engin eering: Walt er Ingenieure , Velburg
Timber Constr uct ion : Holzbaute chnik so hrn, Albe rsc hwen de
Dat e of Complet io n: 2008

Clie nt : The Museum of Modern Art (MoM A) , New York
Archit ect : Oskar Leo Kaufm ann , Albe rt Ruf, Dorn birn
Project Manageme nt : Joc hen Specht
Str uctural Engineering: Merz Kley Part ner
Timber Construction: Zim mere i Michae l Kaufmann, Reut he
Dat e of Comp let ion : 2008

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Gasthof Krone
Clie nt: Helene + Diet mar NuBbaumer
Archit ect : Bern ard o Bader, Dorn birn
Project Team : Sven Matt
St ru ct ural Engin eeri ng: Ingo Gehrer, Hochst
Build ing Physics: Karl ar ustt e, Dorn birn
Dat e of Completion : 2007


community Center Ludesch

Housing Development MUhlweg

Cli ent : Gemeinde Ludesch Immobilienverwaltung s

GmbH & Co KEG
Architect: Hermann Kaufmann ZT Gmb H, Schwarzach
Proj ect Team: Roland Wehinger, Martin Uingle. Norbert Kaufmann
Constr uction Management : Albrecht Bau- &
Proj ektm anagement . Dornbirn
Structural Engineering: Mader + Flat z, Dorn birn
Merz Kaufmann Part ner, Dorn birn
Zementol , Dornb irn
Mechanical Engineering: Synergy Consult ing +
Engineering GmbH, Dornb irn
Elect rical Engineering: Wilhelm Brugger. ThUringen
Buil ding Physics: Bernha rd Weit has, Hochst
Ecology : Osterreic hisc hes Inst itut filr Baubiol ogie und
sauokotog!e. Vienna
Timber Constr uctio n: ARG EWucher - Sutter Holzbau, Ludesch
Date of Completio n: 2005

Clie nt : BWSGemeinnUtzige Allgem eine aau-,

Wohn- und Siedlungsgen. Reg. Gen.m .b.H
Arc hitect: ARGE
Hermann Kaufmann ZT Gmb H, Schwarzach
Johannes Kaufmann Archit ekt ur, Dornb irn
Proj ect Team: Christoph DUnser, Johannes Kaufmann,
Martin RUmmele
Struct ural Engineeri ng: Merz Kaufmann Partner, Dorn birn
Mechanical Engi neering: Pesek PlanungsbUro, Felixdorf
Elect rical Engineering: s.d . & engi neering, Vienna
Build ing Physics/Acoust ic s: Holzforschung Aust ria, Vienna
Landscape Plann ing: PlanSinn GmbH , Vienna
Dat e of Compl eti on: 2006

Housing Development Fichtenweg

Clie nt : Frit z Hol zbau, aarthotomaberg-aant schler
Arch it ect : Hans Hohenf ellner, Feld kirch
Projec t Team: Hansjo rg Thurn
Constructio n Manageme nt : Fritz Hol zbau, sart ho tom abergGant schier
Structural Engineering: Erik Brugger, Bludenz
Mechanical Engineering: somag Inst all at ionen GmbH, Schruns
Elect rical Engineering: Durig Elekt rot echni k GmbH, Schrun s
Timber Construction: Frit z Holzbau, aarth otomaberg-a antschler
Dat e of Completion : 2005

Community Center Raggal

Client : Gemeinde Raggall mmob ili enverwalt ungs
GmbH & Co KEG
Arch itect : Johannes Kaufmann Archit ekt ur, Dorn birn
Project Team: Rainer Gebhardt, Alexandra Eichenlau b,
Dark Schick , Paul Steurer
Construct ion Management: wo lfgang Summer. Klaus
Structu ral Engineering: Merz Kaufmann Part ner,
Dorn birn (ti mber)
Thomas Burt scher, Raggal (conc rete)
Mechanica l Engineeri ng: e- plus, Egg
Elect rical Engin eering: IngenieurbUro Brugger, ThUringen
Timber Constr uct ion: Sutt er Hol zbau, Ludesch
Dat e of Completio n: 2006

Housing Development Sandgrubenweg

Clie nt: Rhomberg Bau GmbH
Archite ct : Archit ekt engemeinschaft Ger hard Horburger,
Helm ut Kuess, w olfg ang Rit sch, Norb ert Schweitz er
Proj ect Team: Baki Kaya
Stru ct ural Engineering: Mader + Flatz , Bregenz
Geote chn ics : Andres Geot echni k, St. Gall en
Mechanical Engineer ing: Pet er Messner GmbH, Dornb irn
Electrica l Engin eeri ng: Kurt DUngi er, GaiBau
Build ing Physics: Lothar KUnz GmbH , Hard
Date of Comp let ion: 2006 (first phase: bui lding C + D)

Secondary School Klaus-Weiler-Fraxe rn

Client : Gemeinde Klaus Immobili enverwalt ungs GmbH & Co. KEG
Archite ct: Dietrich Unte rtr ifalle r Archit ekt en Zivil t echniker
GmbH, Bregenz
proj ect Management: Peter NuBbaumer
Proj ect Team: Tobias Dieng, Eva Dorn , Philip p Nagel, Jana Sack
Const ruc t ion Management : Gmeiner BauGmb H, Schwarzach
Structu ral Engineering: Merz Kaufmann Part ner,
Dornb irn (ti mber)
Mader + Flatz , Bregenz (conc ret e)
Mechanical Engineering: Synergy, Dornb irn
Elect rical Engineer ing: Hecht , Rankweil
Landscape Planning: Rotzler Krebs Partn er GmbH, Wint erthur
Build ing Physics: Bernhard Weith as. Hard
Acoust ics: Karl BrUstle , Dornb irn
Date of Compl eti on: 200 3

Hugo Kleinbrod Chapel

Cli ent : SC Aust ria Lust enau
Archi te ct : Hugo Dworzak, Lusten au
Const ruct ion : Holzbau Stephan Muxel, Au
Date of Comple t ion : 20 07

Logistics Center Tschabrun

Client : Hermann Tschabrun GmbH
Archi tec t: Christian Lenz ZT GmbH, Schwarzach
Projec t Team: Phil ipp Ber kt old , Carst en Redli ch
Construct io n Management : ILF Berat end e Ingen ieure ZT
GmbH, Dorn birn
St ruct ural Engineering: Merz Kaufmann Part ner GmbH, Dornbirn
Mechanical Engineering: ILF Berat ende Ingenieure ZT GmbH ,
Dorn birn
Electri cal Engineering: ILF Berat ende Ingenieu re ZT GmbH,
Dornb irn
Building Physics and Acoustics : Lot har KUnz, Hard
Logistics: Reinhard t & Arens Gbr, Berli n
Date of Completion : 200 5

Hosp ital Dornb irn

Cli ent : St adt Dornb irn
Archit ect : Gohm & Hiessberger Architekte n, Feldkirch
Proj ect Team: Andreas Xander, Susanne stockerl, Otto Brugger
Const ruct ion Management : RUsch, Diem, Schul er, Dornb irn
St ruct ural Engin eering: RUsch, Diem, Schul er, Dornb irn
Mechani cal Engineering: GMI Ingenieure, Dornb irn
Electri cal Engineeri ng: Pet er Hamm erle, Lust enau
Build ing Physics: Bernhar d Weithas , Hochst
Cli nical Engin eering : MTP GmbH , Hall in Tirol
Date of Complet ion: 2004 (Addition) , 200 6 (ICU)

Cli ent : Hafen Rohn er Gmb H & Co KG
Arch it ect : Baumschlager Eberle, Lochau
Proj ect Manageme nt : Christ oph von Oefele
Struct ural Engineering: Mader + Flatz , Bregenz
Mechanical Engin eering: GMI Ing. Pete r Messner GmbH.
Dornb irn
Elect ri cal Engin eering: GMt Ing. Peter Messner Gmb H,
Dornb irn
Glass Manuf actu rer: Glas Marte Gmb H, Bregenz (ICE-H)
Date of Complet ion : 200B

172 Proj ect Summary



Net Usable Area

Energy Concept

Heat ing Energy Demand

Structural system


Element ary School Doren

Cukrowicz Nachbaur


Low-energy standard (1); good surface-areato-volume ratio; high thermal mass; south faci ng
or ientation; mechanical venti lat ion system;
biomass-powe red heat ing system (wood pellets)

19 kWh/m 'a

Fair-face d reinforced concrete walls

and floo r slabs


Ski Lodge Schneggarei

Katia Schneider + Gerold
Schneider, All meinde
Architektur, Phili p Lutz

560 m'

Heating and ventilation system wit h heat recovery,

connected to municipal biomass-powered dist rict
heat ing system


Parish Church St . Ulrich

Christia n Lenz

1,497 m'

Underfloor heating connected to munici pal

biomass-powered dist rict heat ing syste m; electric
infrared heaters for pew areas


RO scher Residence
Oskar Leo Kaufmann,
Al bert ROf

251 m'

Low-energy standard (11; high thermal mass; sout h

facing orientatio n; biomass-powered heating system
(wood chips)

20 kWh/m'a

Prefabricated solid ti mber panels

on fair-faced reinf orced concrete
grou nd floor


Community Center Obersaxen

Matt hias Hein

2,360 m'
Existin g buil ding:
1,401 m'
Addit ion: 959 m'

Good surface -area-to -volume rati o; high th ermal

mass; sout hwest-facing orientatio n; conventio nal
heat ing and ventilation system

approx. 30 kWh/m'a

Site cast reinforced concrete walls;

precast high-strengt h concrete columns;
precast concrete holl ow core slab roof


Olperer House
Hermann Kaufmann

592 m'

High thermal mass; southwest-facing orientat ion ;

PVpanels; com bined heat and power plant for
electricity generation , heating, and water purification; supplementary heating t hrough tiled stove


Community Center St. Gerold

Cukrow icz Nachbaur

571 m'

Passive house standard ('J; good surface -area-to volume rat io; south -facing orientation; heating and
ventilation system with heat recovery and geothermal
heat pump ; provisio ns for PVpanel int egrat ion

10.7 kWh/ m'a

Timber frame construction

(fi rst four-story t imber build ing
in Vorarlberg)


Metzler Residence
Marte Marte

176 m'

High thermal mass; southwest-faci ng orientation;

centralized building management system;
underfloor heat ing and cooling system wit h geot hermal heat pump; provisions for solar hot
water collectors; supplementary heating th rough
open fire place ; unheat ed natural swim ming
pond with biological filter zone

( 50 kWh/m'a

Fair-faced reinforced concrete with

st eel colu mns


Oskar Leo Kaufmann,
Albert ROf

51 m'

Good surface -area-to-vo lume ratio ; high t hermal

mass; opt ional th icker wall build -ups to achieve
low- energy house (11 or passive house st andards ('I;
option al skin syst em for imp roved t hermal
insulatio n and energy generation th rough integrate d PV cells

( 10 kWh/ m'a
(ta rget value since
prot ot ype)

Prefabricat ed laminat ed soli d

t imber panels


Rauch Residence
Lehmhaus: Roger Boltshauser,
Mart in Rauch

200 m'

Low embodied energy; radiant wall heating coils;

tile d stove ; biomass-powered centra l heating
system (wood pelle ts) ; solar hot water colle ctors

72.05 kWh/m'a
(insulati ng propert ies
of rammed earth not
accounted for in calculat ion)

Rammed eart h constructio n


Gasthof Krone
Bernardo Bader

500 m'


Community Cent er Ludesch

Hermann Kaufmann

3,135 m'

Passive house standard ('I ; heating and ventilation

system with ground water heat pump; solar
hot water collectors 30 m'; PV panels 350 m'
(16,000 kWh/ a); suppl ementa ry heat ing throug h
municipal biomass-powered dist rict heating system

13.8 kWh/ m'a

Prefabricated t imber panels on

reinfo rced concrete basement


Housing Develop ment

Hans Hohenfellner

619 m'
6 units with
103.3 m' each

Oko 1 standard (31; good surface-a rea-to-volu me

rat io; south- west facing orie nta tio n; 26 kW
biomass-powered centr al heating system (wood
pellets); solar hot water collectors 50m'

Row house: 65.1 kWh/m 'a

End house: 70.5 kWh/m'a

Prefabricated ti mber panels on

reinforce d concrete basement


Community Cent er Raggal

Johannes Kauf mann

731 m'

Low-energy standar d (11; good surface-a rea-tovolume ratio: mechanical vent ilat ion system with
heat recovery; bio- mass-powe red heating
system (wood chips)

23 kWh/ m'a

Prefabricated t im ber panels on

reinforce d concre te basement

(remodel of existin g
build ing)

(building is only operated

during summert ime)

Exist ing buil ding: masonry

Add ition : fair-faced reinf orced concrete

Prefabricated laminated solid t imber

panels on part ial reinforced conc rete

Exist ing build ing: t radit ional log

constructio n (Blockbau)

(remode l of exist ing building)

Prefabr icated tim ber panels on

reinforced co ncret e bas ement




Net Usable Area

Energy Concept

Heating Energy Demand

Structu ral System


Housing Development
Sandgrub enweg
Gerhard Horburg er, Hel mut
kuess, w olfgang Rit sch,
Norbert Schweitzer

5.812 m'

8uil ding A: passive house {' ), ako 3 standa rd (31;

buildi ngs B. C, and 0: low- energy house (II, o ko 2
sta ndard (31; underflo or heatin g connected t o
biomass-powered centr al heat ing system (wood
pell ets) ; opt ional mechanical ventilatio n syst em
wit h heat recovery (st andard in building A)

8uild ing A: 10.55 kWh/ m'a

Buil ding B: 34.55 kWh/ m'a
Build ing C: 30.30 kWh/m ' a
Build ing 0: 32.50 kWh/m'a

Reinforced concrete columns and

fl oor slabs; non-Ioadbearing
prefabr icated t imb er panel wall s


Secondary School
Klaus-Weiler- Fraxern
Diet rich Untertrif alle r

4.520 m'

Passive house stan dard ('I ; heat ing and ventilation

system with heat recovery and grou nd source
heat exchanger; PV panels 240 m'; provisions for
solar hot wat er collectors; rain water colle ction
for sprinkler system; suppl ement ary heating
th rough condensing gas boiler, to be replaced with
biom ass-powered heat ing system (wood chips) ;

11.4 kWh/ m>a

Prefabr icated ti mber panels on reinfo rced concrete basement ; entrance

and assembly hall : laminated t imber
beams and colum ns


Housing Developm ent

Hermann Kaufmann +
Johannes Kaufmann


Low-energy st andard PI; cent ral heat ing syste m

with lo w-t emperat ure dist ributio n pipes and
convent ional condensing gas boiler; solar hot water
collectors 168m'

38 kWh/m'a

Prefabricated laminat ed soli d t imber

panels on reinfor ced concrete
basement and ground flo or;
non -loadbearing prefab ricat ed
timber facade panel s


Hugo Kleinbrod Chapel

Hugo Dworzak

11 m'

Logistics Center Tschabrun

Christ ian Lenz

13,200 m'


Hospital Dornb irn

Gohm & Hiessberger

Addit ion: 3,438 m'

ICU: 600 m'

Double facade as cli mat ic buffer space; sola r

shading system in facade cavity ; mechanical
ventilation system with heat recovery; und erfl oor
heat ing and cool ing system


Nordwest haus
Baumschlager Eberle

180 m'

High t hermal mass; energy-efficient LEDlight ing;

no heat ing system


lightw eight t imber frame construction

(buil ding is not heated or cooled)
Laminated tim ber t russes and
laminated t imb er beams on precast
concr ete columns

( buil di ng is not heated or cooled)

Addit ion: 45.7 kWh/ m'a

Light weight steel frame constru ction

Fair-faced reinforced concrete

(b uild ing is mainly operated
during summertime)


1 Low-Energy House
A low -energy house is generall y considered to be a house
that uses signific ant ly less energy tha n required by curr ent
local build ing codes. It t ypicall y uses a high degree of
insulat ion. energy-effi cie nt window s, low levels of air
infil tra tio n. and heat recovery vent ilation to lower heat ing
and coo li ng energy requirements. In some countr ies, th e
te rm relates to a specific buil ding standard whic h seeks
to li mit the energy used for space heat ing, which in many
cli mate zones represent s th e largest energy use. In order
to comply with the low -energy standar d in most Europea n
regions. t he limi t for a build ing's heating energy demand
is 50 kWh/m'a or less, which is equivalent to 15,B50 Bt u/ ft '/yr.

2 Passive House
A passive house is th e progression of a low-energy house.
It is an ultra-l ow energy buil ding in which a comfort abl e
int eri or climate can be maintained wit hout th e use of any
significa nt acti ve heating and coolin g systems. Passive
houses take advantage of solar and interna l heat gains. and
t hrough this employ " passive" means. To qualify for t he
passive-house st andard. European regulat ions st ipulate an
annual heating energy demand of less t han 15 kWh/ m' a
(4,755Bt u/ft' / yr). Furt hermore, t he combined primary energy
consumpti on for heating . hot water. and electr icity may
not exceed 120 kWh/ m'a (38.039 Btu/ ft ' / yr) .

3 ako 1,2, and 3

ako 1. 2. and 3 are funding levels for new residential
constr uct ion and th e remodeli ng of exist ing residential
buil dings as part of an ecological subsidi es progr am which
is managed by the Energieinst it ut Vorarlberg . Build ing
project s are assessed t hrough a set of ecological guideli nes
which evaluate a building's site design, energy consum ption ,
materia l choice. mechanical syst ems. and interi or spatial
qualities. A point system is used to determine t he act ual
amount of funding for each individual projec t . The most im porta nt crite ria of t he evaluat ion system are a build ing's
surface-area-to-volume ratio and it s annual heati ng energy
demand. The more compact a buil ding and the low er its
heati ng energy demand, t he higher th e level of fi nancial
assista nce. The subsidies program was recent ly rest ructu red
and now comprises fund ing levels ak o 1 th rough 5.


Ulrich Dangel is an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin where he
teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in design, construction , architectural
detailing, and structural design . He received a Diploma in Architecture from universitat
Stuttgart in Germany and a Master of Architecture from the University of Oregon. As
both a German and Austr ian citizen , his professional career led him to London where he
worked for int ernat ionally renowned architecture firms Foster + Partners and Grimshaw
Architects. He is a registered architect in Germany and the United Kingdom and also
operates an emerging design practice in collaboration with his wife Tamie Glassin Austin,

Numerous people helped with the preparation of this book, and while I cannot mention
everyone involved, I would like to acknowledge the following individuals. First and
foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the dedicated architects in
Vorarlberg. Without them and their work, th is book would not have been possible . Many
of them took the time to meet with me personally, patiently answered all my questions,
fulfilled my numerous requests, and made their drawings and photographs available for
publication. I walked away from this experience thoroughly impressed by their likable,
down-to-earth personalities and their unconditional willingness to collaborate. I also
want to express my appreciation to those at Birkhauser Publishers in Basel who helped
make this book a reality. In particular, I would like to thank editors Ulrike Ruh, Alexander
Felix and Daniel Morgenthaler for their initial review, continued advice, and general
enthusiasm about the topic.
I am thankful for the financial support I received from the University of Texas at Austin.
My initial research was generously supported by the Office of the ExecutiveVice President
and Provost with new faculty start-up funds, and a summer research assignment by the
Office ofthe Dean of Graduate Studies allowed me to visit Vorarlberg. I am also grateful
for a research grant awarded to me by the Office of the Vice President for Research. My
research assistants were instrumental in compiling all the material for this book. Erin
Stark carefully prepared the drawings, and Ben Arbib prepared a first layout-concept.
Their dedicated effort and hard work is greatly appreciated.
In addition, this book would have not been possible without the help of Frederick Steiner,
Dean of the School of Architecture at the University ofTexas at Austin, who provided me
with research and financial assistance . I am especially grateful for his continued support. A very special and sincere thank you goes to my colleagues and mentors Professor
Christopher Long and Associate Professor Vincent Snyder for their advice and encouragement over the last several years. I am particularly indebted to my partner and wife
Tamie Glass. This publication would have not been completed without her contribution,
support, and patience, for which I am forever grateful. Finally, this book is dedicated to
my parents Edith and Gunter Dangel, who never wavered in their belief in my chosen
career path.




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Illustration Credits
Architekturzentrum Wien, Photo F. Achle itner: p.140 /
fig. 13+14
Collection Franz Beer, Stadtarch iv Dornbirn : p. 96/ fig . 5
Collection Christa Branz, Vorarlberger Landesbibliothek :
p. 9B / fig . 8
Adolf Bereuter, Lauterach : Cover, p.10 down ; p.37-38 , 40-41 ;
p.62/fig.6-7; p.77-81 ; p.89-91 ; p.ll3-114, 117
Friedrich aohr lnger, Dornbirn : p.s top ; p. 13/ fig .2 ;
p. 94/ fig.1 ; p. 95/ fig . 2; p. 135/ fig . 2
Beat BOhler, Zurich : p. 83- 87
Architektengemeinschaft cooperative : p. 134/ fig . 1;
p. 138/ fig .10
Ulrich Dangel, Austin : p. 9 down left + down right;
p.12/fig.1; p.15/fig.5 ; p.58/fig.1 ; p.92 ; p.96/fig.3 ;
p.98/ fig . 9 ; p. 135/ fig. 3+4; p. 139/ fig .12
Dietrich Untertrifaller Architekten , Bregenz: p.131
Collection Will ibald Feinig, Altach : p. 136/ fig . 6+7
Robert Fessler, Lauterach : p.10 top ; p.27-29 , 31 ;
Harald Geiger, Schoppernau : p.151-153
Eduard Hueber + Ines Leong / archphoto .com. New York:
Dr. Richard Huter, Bregenz: p.61 / fig . 5
Architekten Hermann Kaufmann, Schwarzach: p. 49-52, 54-55
Hermann Keckeis : p. 136/ fig. 8
Bruno Klomfar, Wien : p. 15/ fig.4 ; p.33-35 ; p.101-103,
105-106; p.109-111; p.119-121, 123; p.125, 127, 129-130;
p.140 / fig .15; p.143, 145, 147-148; p. 155-157 ; p.159-163
Ignazio Martinez , Navia Asturias: p.15/ fig . 3 (proHolz) ;
p.16/ fig. 6-8
Meyr-Melnhof Kaufmann, Reuthe : p.56 ; p.59/ fig . 2;
p. 63/ fig . 8-9
Collection Rupp / rs chol, Gemeindearchiv Horbranz :
p.61 / fig.4
Rudolf Sagmeister, Lochau: p.136/ fig . 5; p. 137/ fig . 9
Hans-Peter Schiess, Trogen: p. 19,21 ; 22-23 ; 25; p.65, 67, 69
Albre cht Imanuel Schnabel, Gotzis : p. 71-72,74-75
Nikolaus Walter, Feldkirch : p. 138/ fig . 11
From other books :
Johann Wilhelm : Architectura civilis, Frankfurt, 1668
(Original in der vorarlberger Landesbibliothek) : p. 60/ fig . 3
Johann Deininger : Das Bauernhaus in Tirol und Vorarlberg,
Vienna, 1894: p.96/ fig.4 ; p.97/ fig . 6+7
Tobias G. Natter, Ute pfanner (Ed.) : Archite ctura practica Barockbaumeister und moderne Bauschule aus vorarlberg ,
Bregenz, 2006 : p.132