There’s nothing quite like the allure of wood. While we’ve always had a penchant for natural materials here at est, we have a particular soft spot for homes that embrace timber. It’s the material Austrian firm Innauer-Matt Architekten have built their practice and projects around, earning them a reputation for mindful design and expert craftsmanship. Timber has also brought them to some of the most remote pockets of Austria, building homes that blend with the history and environment of their location. We’re taking time out to appreciate the depth, texture and versatility timber offers two minimal abodes by Innauer-Matt Architekten, enlivening these homes with a sincere connection to their surrounds.
House for Julia and Bjorn is named after its clients, with a design that sought to create a family hub that references the beauty of its Bregenz Forest region. The steep-roofed home is located in the small hamlet of Egg, Austria and is “clamped” between a lime and walnut tree. Cloaked in solid spruce timber, the living area spans the entire ground floor and is warmed by the wood fire that doubles for the production of hot water and heating. The home’s timber was sourced from nearby woods and was used from flooring to furnishings, ceilings to cabinetry and alternated by hand-made paster surfaces.
Retreating off the spacious ground floor, the private areas include a gallery-like timber extension to the roof, creating the illusion of generous space. Two terraces extend towards the humble lime and walnut trees, just as large timber-framed windows capture a view of the village and mountain scenery. With their signature hand at handcrafting, Innauer-Matt Architekten have provided plenty of custom spots to get comfy and soak up the picturesque vista.
‘A lattice structure comprising of wooden rails encases the entire building. Although it functions as weather protection, it’s more a dress, carefully woven, both concealing and revealing at the same time.’
— Innauer-Matt Architekten
Innauer-Matt Architekten took to a steep site in the Bregenzerwalk valley of Western Austria to create this warming wooden abode by the name of House Hoeller. The front gabled facade — the roof parallel to the slope — resembles the traditional farm buildings of the region, blending with the landscape just as others have for centuries. Inside, the timber beams embrace this A-frame and inject the same enduring aesthetic.
According to the brief, the home needed to be “convincing in its noble simplicity” and at the same time embrace the challenges of the hillside. For this, Innauer-Matt Architekten designed the home to have just two of three floors visible where on the upper floor, the living area consists of “several layers or shells”. Central to these structural shells is the timber, dressing the home from top to toe — and only occasionally intermitted by concrete. Custom-made timber furniture and the floating staircase are standout, polished forms demonstrating Innauer-Matt Architekten’s mastery for the material.
‘The assignment was to come up with a new building for this steep, exposed place, only used to herd goats before.’
— Innauer-Matt Architekten