Marianne and Werner Benzer were looking to buy a Kellerstöckel (wine house) in the Burgenland region in Austria, when their daughter, architect Judith Benzer, offered to design them a contemporary version of the traditional style.

The resulting Summer House is impressive in its scale and simplicity. Consisting of an underground ferroconcrete cellar and a two-storey residence, the building looks unobtrusive and sculptural in the open field. The exterior is built from planks of untreated larch wood with a contrasting edge made from copper corner plates. A large timber deck, that replicates the shape of the home, extends the modest living area.

Windows and doors have been carefully placed to take advantage of the countryside view. They can also be cleverly concealed with large, folding shutters that sit flush to the building. During the summer months the shutters are lifted over the deck to form a line of canopies which provide shelter from the sun. The shutters can also be locked during winter when the residence is vacated.

Inside, the space continues the minimalist design with concrete floors, open steel stairs and untreated timber paneling. The simple, clean lines create an easy-to-manage, modern retreat.

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