Hermann Kaufmann Architekten
Lingenau, Vorarlberg, Austria
Today, building a home for a young family is often an exception because the property and the construction costs are so high that it is no longer affordable for those with an average income. The municipality, Lingenau, provided the property at a reasonable price to the builder who is from the village. All operated on a minimal construction budget. Only because the family executed almost everything together in collaboration with their retired father, a trained carpenter, could costs be even lowered. As a result, nothing is unnecessary in the house; the cubature is concise. The entrance to the house, considering the terrain’s geography, is on the living level. Bedrooms and a small room are located in the basement. Resulting from the sloped terrain, the basement walls constructed in concrete carry a timber beam ceiling. The ground floor and attic were built entirely in timber.
Only the raw timber framing was delivered, the family completed the remaining carpentry work. Here again, timber shows to be the most suitable material for do-it-yourself projects. Noteworthy is the quality of detailing, interior and exterior. The house does not reach passive house standards but has a tiled stove with buffer storage and solar integration. Since the family has ample opportunities to obtain wood from the forest, complex technology for energy savings was not conceived. During the previous heating seasons, the house used approximately five solid cubic meters of wood (5 oafu/year) for heating and hot water. Possibly a few kilograms of wood more are consumed than otherwise necessary.
The Lingenau project by Hermann Kaufmann Architekten is an example of New wood Open Architecture because it uses the accessibility and workability of timber to allow the occupants to participate in the construction process. The prefabricated timber frame was designed and manufactured off-site and then delivered to the final location for assembly. This structure became the framework upon which the occupants could continue to build as they finished the remaining construction. This do-it-yourself approach relied upon the carpentry experience of the family but still demonstrates the positive benefits of playing a more significant role in the dwelling process.
The Lingenau project by Hermann Kaufmann Architekten exemplifies New wood Open Architecture demonstrating how wood is an ideal material for allowing the occupants to participate in the construction process. The resulting architecture is a comforting dwelling environment that meets the housing needs of those who dwell within. As these needs change, the high level of participation allows the occupants agency to expand the dwelling to potentially facilitate future uses. This process creates a highly resilient architecture that remains functional while also reducing material waste and embodied energy.