Most owners use their holiday homes for only a couple of weeks a year, leaving them as empty objects in their respective surrounding for the rest of the time. This is, however, not the case with House on Tschengla, which has become a fully-fledged second home for its owners. Located a mere 30 minute drive from their flat in the Western Austrian town of Feldkirch, it allows them to live in two worlds, between the lively density of a town and the vast solitude of the mountains.
The varied, mostly untouched nature with its alpine flora and breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains make Tschengla, a plateau high above the village of Bürserberg, a very special place. With respect to this unique setting, we decided to place the newly built mountain vacation house into this precious scenery like a solitaire. Its outlines are an unmistakable reference to the way farmhouses have been built in Alpine regions ever since the first settlements: a simple, well-structured wooden building on a solid plinth, its gable looking down the valley. Works around the house were kept to a minimum to leave the new building surrounded by untouched alpine pastures.
A little square cut into the hillside at the rear face opens the house to the street. The covered entrance leads inside, where a corridor that also houses the kitchen runs through the ground floor. This is the casual meeting place, the heart of the house. A small step up is the dining area with corner seating and a big table facing south, its lower ceiling making it even more inviting and intimate. A panoramic window stretches all along this side of the house, revealing the impressive mountain views. The wooden corner bench stretches further along the walls all the way to the fireplace, serving also as a bookshelf and fireside bench. From here, a solid stairwell leads up to the attic rooms, opening up the rather small living area and giving it a surprisingly open and generous air. The Schopf, a kind of porch or closed veranda typical for the region, connects the kitchen/corridor to the west side of the house with outdoor seating, fountain and a small herb garden.
From the kitchen, the small staircase, slightly spiralled between two narrow walls, leads up to the attic floor. In contrast to the lower floor, this part of the house is more a place for retreat. The roof reaches low and houses two bedrooms, a bathroom, a small hallway with a workplace and an extra room including a little library. The windows sit low on the level of the cullis with the daylight falling far into the rooms, creating a cosy, intimate atmosphere. 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. Untreated spruce and ash, grey plasterwork und rough stone give this house a special and natural air. A second home in the mountains; far from, yet close to the hustle and bustle of life in town. A sacred space for this little family.