House R in Albstadt: wood structure and glass front
Dietrich | Untertrifaller Architekten ZT GmbH
The idyllic town of Margrethausen, a district of Albstadt, is embedded in the gently rolling hills of the Swabian Alb. The sloping property on the edge of the village next to the mighty monastery offers an unobstructed view southwards over meadows and forests. This special location prompted us to glaze the entire south side of the saddle roof house right up to the gable. An essential goal of the design and the express wish of the client was to use future-oriented, sustainable materials and to integrate the building harmoniously into its surroundings.
Apart from the parts in contact with the ground, the house was built as a timber structure. The slope floor is made of exposed concrete. A recess on the north side marks the roofed entrance to the house and the garage. One single flight of stairs, lit by a large living room window, leads from the spacious, bright entrance area to the upper floor. The private rooms face north-east on the valley side, while the living area with its glass front opens up to the south-west. A gallery suspended from the roof provides space for a study and partially creates a gable-high living area. Since a small bathroom has already been installed in the gallery, a guest appartment or children’s room can be divided off later by inserting a partition wall.
The open space allows daylight to reach the entrance hall on the ground floor and visually connects the differently used levels of the house. The vertical room-to-room circulation made corridors unnecessary and thus maximised the living space. The result is a very personal, unique living profile and a generous, flowing ambience.
Exposed concrete, wood and glass characterise the entire design of the house, both inside and out. Walls and ceilings are largely made of silver fir, the floors of ash. The kitchen unit of black Nanotech panels contrasts effectively with the light wood. The gable-high glazing facing the garden visually extends the inside to the outside.
Covered terraces frame the entire living area on both sides. In the middle of the south side, a free-standing exposed concrete table extends the deck, and to the west, a simple metal staircase leads into the garden. The wide overhanging gable roof shades and protects this outdoor living space and the small balcony in front of the gallery. Vertical wooden slats on the south side and in front of the large bathroom window in the east provide privacy and shading while preserving the transparency of the façade design.
Dietrich I Untertrifaller is an international architectural practice with roots in Vorarlberg. We focus on the respectful use of resources, the development of socially balanced spaces and the appreciation of the cultural and architectural context. Since our founding, we have played a pioneering role in modern timber construction. Today, the office employs an international team of over 120 people in Austria, Switzerland, France and Germany. The entire spectrum of large-scale buildings, urban structures, alterations of existing buildings and single-family homes constantly challenges and inspires creativity. We often realize our projects together with local offices and regional partners. A decisive factor in all our work is the resource-saving and appropriate use of materials. We are well known for our
expertise in design and construction and maintain this knowhow through trustful relationships clients, craftsmen and engineers. We continuously share our knowledge in lecture and teaching.