This Stunning Home in Austria Sets a New Bar For Alpine Retreats

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By Michele Koh Morollo
Horizontal larch cladding and a copper pitched roof lend textural detail to a contemporary farmhouse.

In Tschengla, a high plateau in the Western Austrian village of Bürserberg, a minimalist retreat allows a local couple to work in the lively town of Feldkirch and escape to the solitude of the mountains on weekends.

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A wooden bench wraps along a dining corner and extends towards the fireplace, where it serves as a bookshelf and fireside bench.

A wooden bench wraps along a dining corner and extends towards the fireplace, where it serves as a bookshelf and fireside bench.

Guided by the region’s traditional alpine farmhouses, Austrian firm Innauer Matt Architekten designed the house as a simple wooden building resting atop a solid, reinforced concrete plinth. The striking pitched roof is made of copper with its gable looking down towards the valley.

This Stunning Home in Austria Sets a New Bar For Alpine Retreats - Photo 2 of 12 -

Horizontal larch cladding was used for the facade to give the house an interesting ribbed texture with deep grooves. 

Horizontal larch cladding was used for the facade to give the house an interesting ribbed texture with deep grooves.

Horizontal larch cladding was used for the facade to give the house an interesting ribbed texture with deep grooves.

At the rear, a small square cuts into the hillside to connect the house to a paved driveway that allows for vehicle access via the main road. The front door opens to a corridor with a kitchen in the middle that runs through the ground floor. 

A kitchen with a Siemens integrated oven

A kitchen with a Siemens integrated oven

From the kitchen, a small step leads up to a dining area with a large wooden table and built-in bench seating. This wooden bench, which wraps along a corner, extends along the walls towards the fireplace, where it serves as a bookshelf and fireside bench. 

Gravasoni Gray 23 dining chairs and a Flos Smithfield black pendant outfit the dining area.

Gravasoni Gray 23 dining chairs and a Flos Smithfield black pendant outfit the dining area.

A fireplace in the living lounge

A fireplace in the living lounge

Along the dining area, a panoramic window constructed of fir wood and triple glazing frames idyllic mountain views. Here, a lower ceiling gives the dining an intimate and cozy feel. 

A small staircase winds between two narrow walls and up towards the attic.

A small staircase winds between two narrow walls and up towards the attic.

From the kitchen, a small staircase winds between two narrow walls and up towards the attic. 

The ceilings of the attic slope downwards towards the level of the cullis to create a more cloistered atmosphere.

The ceilings of the attic slope downwards towards the level of the cullis to create a more cloistered atmosphere.

On this level, the ceilings slope downwards towards the level of the cullis, to create a more cloistered atmosphere for the two bedrooms, bathroom, study room, and library.

A bathtub that looks out to views of the trees

A bathtub that looks out to views of the trees

"The diversity of ambiences in these rooms—some with high, some with low ceilings, some wide, some small—is further enhanced by the use of simple, yet atmospheric materials," says architect Sven Matt. "Untreated spruce and ash, gray plasterwork and rough stone give this house a special and natural feel."

A "schof"—a type of closed porch that’s common in the Alpine region of Austria—links the corridor-kitchen to the western side of the house.

A "schof"—a type of closed porch that’s common in the Alpine region of Austria—links the corridor-kitchen to the western side of the house.

A "schof"—a type of closed porch that’s common in the region—with outdoor seating, a small herb garden, and fountain, links the kitchen corridor to the western side of the house. 

Outdoor seating on the  porch

Outdoor seating on the porch

"The varied, mostly untouched nature with its alpine flora and breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains make Tschengla a very special place," says architect Markus Innauer. "Works around the house were kept to a minimum to leave the new building surrounded by untouched alpine pastures."

Picture windows frame views on both ends of the kitchen of the kitchen counter.

Picture windows frame views on both ends of the kitchen of the kitchen counter.


Project Credits:

Architecture and interior design: Innauer Matt Architekten

Structural engineer: Mader Flatz Ziviltechniker GmbH

Civil engineer: Jurgen Haller