A Minimalist Home Is Built Into Steep Terrain in an Austrian Valley

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By Lucy Wang
Overlooking views of a picturesque Austrian village, this modern home is built of wood entirely sourced from the homeowner’s forest.

A contemporary take on traditional Austrian farmhouses, the Höller House evokes simplistic beauty at its finest. Designed by Innauer-Matt Architekten, this newly built home is nestled into a steep hill just outside a village in the idyllic Bregenzerwald valley in Western Austria. 

Although the steep terrain has deterred previous development, the team of architects embraced the landscape and strategically mitigated the slope by partly excavating the plot to insert a concrete base with a garage. Scroll ahead for a closer look at this breathtaking property. 

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To help blend the building into the landscape, the sections of the home visible above the slope are cladded in natural and unfinished spruce sourced from the owner's own forest. 

To help blend the building into the landscape, the sections of the home visible above the slope are cladded in natural and unfinished spruce sourced from the owner's own forest. 

"We carefully placed it into the hillside situation like a solitaire, with only two of its three floors being visible," says a team member from Innauer-Matt Architekten. "The entrance is not recognizable as such immediately, making the house seem somewhat inapproachable and more private. The access from the road is situated at a lower level, and only at second sight can the concrete-covered cut into the hill be identified as the entrance." 

Exposed trusses celebrate the home's timber construction. The house is also equipped with solar water heating.

Exposed trusses celebrate the home's timber construction. The house is also equipped with solar water heating.

By only using a few different materials, the minimalist home has a crisp and clean appearance.

By only using a few different materials, the minimalist home has a crisp and clean appearance.

To satisfy the client’s desires for a private outdoor space, the architects have added covered terraces that wrap around the home on two floors. 

The second floor terrace steps directly out onto the hill. The slatted spruce screens provide privacy, while also allowing natural light to filter indoors.

The second floor terrace steps directly out onto the hill. The slatted spruce screens provide privacy, while also allowing natural light to filter indoors.

The first floor features three bedrooms connected to a south-facing terrace. A centrally located staircase leads up to the second floor that comprises the light-filled living room, dining area, and kitchen. A small loft with seating is inserted above the bathroom and storage room. 

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Large windows frame views of the rural Austrian valley.

Large windows frame views of the rural Austrian valley.

Skylights and large glazed openings flood the interiors with natural light, where light concrete walls provide a cool contrast to the warmth lent by unfinished spruce paneling. 

A small seating area is tucked into a loft-like space.

A small seating area is tucked into a loft-like space.

By creating and adapting a spectrum of translucence and transparency to each room, the architects were able to prevent unwanted insights while also making beautiful outlooks a part of everyday life and living.   

The roof was built with prefabricated wood elements.

The roof was built with prefabricated wood elements.

Heating is primarily powered by geothermal energy.

Heating is primarily powered by geothermal energy.

Recessed lights minimize visual distraction.

Recessed lights minimize visual distraction.

A look at the Höller House site plan.

A look at the Höller House site plan.

Here, you can see the Höller House elevations.

Here, you can see the Höller House elevations.

A look at the Höller House floor plans.

A look at the Höller House floor plans.

Here are the Höller House sections.

Here are the Höller House sections.

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Innauer-Matt Architekten

General Contractor: Zimmerei Michael Kaufmann

Structural Engineer: Merz Kley Partner / Hammerle Huster

Cabinetry Design: Tischlerei Valentin Winder