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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From the kitchen, a small staircase winds between two narrow walls and up towards the attic.
"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 region—with outdoor seating, a small herb garden, and fountain, links the kitchen corridor to the western side of the house.
"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."
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