© Georg Bechter Architektur+Design

Barn Loft // Georg Bechter Architektur+Design

Hittisau, Austria

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Text description provided by the architects.

Barn LoftThe agricultural wing – the barn – of a typical Bregenzerwälder longhouse has been converted into living space. The refined building shell of a wooden construction, deliberately finished without standard interior construction, derives its charm and atmosphere from raw surfaces and the natural materials used. The farm building typical of the Vorderer Bregenzerwald region dates back to the 17th century and is situated solitarily on a southern slope overlooking the gentle mountain scenery.

© Georg Bechter Architektur+Design

© Georg Bechter Architektur+Design

Farm buildings of this type define the region’s landscape. More and more of the barns go out of use and are usually converted into living space. This is what happened here. The house keeps the character of the traditional longhouse and confidently fits into the hillside. Open spaceThe loft is a generous open space without inside walls – apart from a box in its centre, integrating the ancillary rooms and the stairs up to the gallery level.

© Georg Bechter Architektur+Design

© Georg Bechter Architektur+Design

A dominating feature of the loft is its 26 ft by 13 ft glass front facing south, offering an extensive view of the village and the mountains. In summer, the lower part of the glass front may be raised. This way, the inside living space melts into the outdoor space, which opens up to the landscape through steps designed as a seating area.

© Georg Bechter Architektur+Design

© Georg Bechter Architektur+Design

The glass front also offers an outdoor view from the upper level of the house – directly from bed, bathtub or desk.
The loft is an attempt to reduce a building to its minimum and its essentials, while at the same time creating a highly comfortable and cosy atmosphere.
Experimental living
Residential buildings are increasingly standardized – and so are their floorplans.

© Georg Bechter Architektur+Design

© Georg Bechter Architektur+Design

This loft states that a different approach to housing can bring out top residential quality through simple means. The space is designed to accommodate various life situations. It is a basic structure that can be used in various ways. It might, for instance, be used as a studio, or developed to suit changing requirements.Refined building shellThe timber frame construction with cellulose insulation is boarded on the inside with rough-cut solid wood planks up to 1.5 ft wide.

© Georg Bechter Architektur+Design

© Georg Bechter Architektur+Design

Installation level and interior lining have deliberately been left off. Neither are there floor constructions – the concrete floor slab tinted with soot obtained from burning part of the old barn serves as the ground level floor, the solid timber floor boards that make up the gallery level at the same time serve as its floor boards.

© Georg Bechter Architektur+Design

© Georg Bechter Architektur+Design

The simple shell construction, finished with mineral paint, is what gives the loft its character. It offers simple, raw and cost-efficient living space, meeting all environmental standards. The trees were chosen and cut in the family’s own wood, taken to the sawmill and processed by the local carpenter. They had been growing for a hundred years, not even three miles from where they now offer sustainable living space for many decades.

© Georg Bechter Architektur+Design

© Georg Bechter Architektur+Design

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