Architecture as a means of communication: This building serves as a reference and bond between landscape, culture, neighborhood, and individuals. A house always builds on a dialogue, which in this particular case can be described as an interaction between local tradition and surrounding agricultural buildings. It listens but also tells of continuity as well as progressive evolution, of permanence and change, of coming, staying and leaving. It serves as a place for confidential exchange, a place of bi-directional dialogue, outward as well as inward. The farmhouse in Schwendt can look back on a history of more than 600 years – which is quite a long dialogue. Our mission was to make it possible that this dialogue extends into the future.
The former farmhouse is located in the idyllic village of Schwendt in the district of Kitzbühel at the foot of the Wilder Kaiser mountain range. The foundations of the house were built back in the 15th century. By carefully using modern style elements, the owners aimed at converting the ancient country house into a vacation chalet. The large house is structured into three levels. The ground floor features the spacious entrance area, a living room with stove, a kitchen and a living room. A spiral staircase made of black steel weightlessly swings through all the floors, from the bottom floor to the attic.
On the upper floors, bedrooms and a further living room can be found. Subtleties such as the steel staircase or the living room windows – which are strikingly large for a farmhouse – represent modern stylistic elements that oppose the traditional country house style while playfully embedding themselves. The interplay between rustic, carved wood elements and black steel as well as modern glass elements has neither an artificial appearance nor seems to be intrusive. The effect is rather a gentle blending of history, present and future. Observed from the outside, the house maintains the traditional style of the region, with large proportions and a rectangular foundation, standing in a widely open, rural terrain. The house features an atelier and a sauna as well as large balconies. On the upper floor, the balcony even stretches from east to south to west around the house. Thus, you can find a sunny spot at any time of the day.
During the process of retrofitting, the preservation of the existing building was given highe priority, both regarding the facade as well as the interior furnishings. The goal was to make the changes with a minimum of visual intervention. Accordingly, no expenses were spared with regards to materials. For example, the foundations, which are susceptible to moisture, were drained in a complex process. In order to authentically maintain the traditional style, old floorboards were collected from all over Austria with great effort. We are confident that the vacation house will continue to tell stories for a long time.