Text description provided by the architects. The weekend home known locally as the »Bienenhus« (apiary) is located on a wooded hill above Krumbach in Austrian Vorarlberg. The unique and exposed hillside location of the solitary building that is surrounded only by trees and meadows enjoys a view to the south of the local mountain, the Hoher Ifen.
The building opens the view of the Alps and is aligned with the topography of the hilly landscape. The south-facing slope is emulated simply and yet strikingly by the mono-pitch roof on the one hand and by the wooden cladding of the façade that runs parallel to the slope on the other. Inside the house, the compact arrangement of the rooms on three levels likewise follows the sloping landscape, staggered according to function and importance.
The ground floor, with an entrance to the north and living room to the south, acts as a connecting element with the two flights of stairs. The living room with a gallery floor is the center of the house, offering space for living, cooking, and dining. The centerpiece of the living area is also located here: a historic stove. Used in conjunction with passive solar energy, the woodburning stove covers almost the entire heating needs of the building. The roof overhang in the south minimizes the radiation of the high summer sun, but in winter nonetheless allows solar heat to be captured thanks to the glazed south-facing façade.
While the basement is made of concrete, the upper floors are timber frame construction with solid wood ceilings. The ceilings, walls, and floors are clad in untreated, local silver fir. In the basement, the wooden surfaces contrast with the exposed concrete of the exterior walls and a slate floor with underfloor heating. The use of solar energy and the woodburning stove combined with the highly thermally insulated building envelope keeps the primary energy requirement to a minimum. Sustainability and the honesty of the materials are defining elements of the design concept.