Haus Am Fels - House Along The Rock

PrizeHonorable Mention in Architectural Design /
Firm LocationDornbirn, Austria
CompanyHelena Weber Architektin ZT

Above the valley, through which the river Ill insistently paves its sateless flow all the way to the Rhine: a residential house, in the midst of a spectacular scenery of nature. To an area of other residential buildings which have seen various pragmatical imprints over the years, it adds a structure of gentle calmness, made of local material, built with local resources. Built onto the rock, the house unfolds a spacious landscape - with just a few nifty architectural gestures a place is created that provides protecting areas of retreat as well as rooms with generous openings towards the valley scape. Via a protected entry along one enters a space continuum, a sequence of intertwined inner and outer rooms: South-bound there is a spacious terrace, preventing potential summer heat and extended into the interior space through generous vitrification. Next to the dining area there is another covered terrace deck with a gorgeous view towards the valley. On the hillside, a landscaped interior with chimney and couches surround an inner courtyard like a fan. This exterior center in the middle of the interior is a contemplative element, which adapts to the season: it invites winter light to enter the room whereas in summer it moderates sun radiation through a beautiful green-top. The lower floor provides possibilities of retreat for the residents. The massive base floor of fairfaced concrete carries, along the slope of the hill, the wooden living floor, itself encased and protected by a pulsating fan of silver fir lamella. The reduced-form yet full-fledged materialization generates quiescent clarity. All this could be realized with emphasis on ecologically sustainable construction: the (low) need for thermal heat is covered by geothermal energy, complemented by a storage heater in the living room and a controlled ventilation, whereas photo-voltaics take care of electricity needs.