A Cute Haus in the Austrian Alps
Local studio OLKRÜF designed and built this childlike house in the mountains of western Austria, with grassland ending abruptly at its boxy walls.
The extremely simple shape and basic materials reflects the utter simplicity of its fairytale setting on the sloping meadows of the Kanisfluh mountain.
The architect’s brief included a compact house for a small family, yet with enough space for guests and a sauna (the smaller building).
Unlike many houses with such an uncompromising exterior, the design continues in a perfectly consistent way inside the house too.
You enter the low ceiling kitchen, but beyond it, the living room has a raised ceiling that opens upwards to the view.
The simple kitchen is entered directly from the back of the building, and beyond it, one of three living room windows can be seen at that level.
Once the kitchen is entered, with no further ado, stairs lead up to the two bedrooms for parents and children.
The heart of the house is cosy and warm with wood lining the floor.
Beyond the kitchen, windows on three sides bring an abundance of light into the living room.
A raised ceiling at the junction between the living room and the kitchen exposes the thermal mass of the sandblasted smooth concrete to store warmth from the sun.
Placed over the low ceiling of the kitchen, the children’s bedroom is double height to allow for bunk beds.
The parents’ room is at the top of the stairs, and (not shown on the landing below) half way down the stairs is the door to the children’s bedroom is entered.
Shown unfurnished, the bedrooms are completely lined in wood, for further cosy protection against the elements.
Viewed from the landing outside the childrens bedroom, you can see some of the unusual construction with thick, poured-in-place concrete walls.
In an experimental move first tested on the smaller guesthouse/sauna building, the thick exterior wall of the building was constructed from one continuous piece of poured concrete the full height of the structure.
Where the interior walls were continued from roof to ground, they too were cast straight through multiple levels in a single piece, then the floors were hung afterwards from the concrete walls, by drilling metal into the triple height finished wall.
The result was exceptional thermal mass, bringing stable warmth through the winter months and a consistent cooling during the hot summer.
It’s a novel design and technique, and both are executed confidently.