Constructive Alps itinerating exhibition

For the third time, the Swiss Confederation and the Principality of Liechtenstein present the «Constructive Alps» Architecture Award.

As in 2010 and 2013, the Award honours refurbished and new buildings in the alpine region which serve as examples of ecology, building culture, society and economy. Thus the Award is a hands-on contribution to the implementation of the Alpine Convention’s action plan on climate change in the Alps.

The competition is organised by the Federal Office for Spatial Development, the Environmental Office of the Principality of Liechtenstein, the University of Liechtenstein and the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps, CIPRA.

In total, 360 projects were entered, which is roughly the same number as in previous years. This shows that responsible construction is not a short-term trend. The jury has awarded three main prizes and eight commendations for buildings in the entire alpine region. The exhibition presents an abundance of good projects and makes them known around the world. May it inspire architects and principals alike, and may it encourage them to build in favour of the mountains and with climate change in mind.

(Markus Reiterer, Secretary General of the Alpine Convention – text published in Hochpartere Special Issue November 2015)

Renaissance of the village centre

Twenty years ago, Krumbach in the Bregenz Forest was under threat of turning into a dormitory village: the village centre was depopulated and surrounded by detached houses. Since then, the village with its 1,000 inhabitants has become a real role model. The council put a halt to the village sprawl, looked for private investors and invited the inhabitants to join in. In 2008, the three architects, Hermann Kaufmann, Bernardo Bader and René Bechter carried out a study to upgrade the village centre. In 2013, a milestone was reached: the council in cooperation with the parish built the new rectory. It is much more than the name suggests. In addition to the parish office and the rectory, there is a multi-purpose hall, a library and a room for the music club’s rehearsals.

New life on the square

Two refurbishments in the Swiss village of Valendas show how a historic village centre can be revived. Two 500-yearold houses – the “Engihuus” and the “Türalihuus” – have been carefully and sensitively renovated. “It would be a terrible loss to refurbish such a house in the conventional way”, says architect Ramon Capaul about the “Türali “ building. “This is why we opted for repairing wherever this was possible to preserve the original.” The “Ferien im Baudenkmal” (holidays in a historic building) foundation has made the house available to guests. Traces of old building phases have been preserved, and natural materials have been used. The second building, the “Engihuus” now serves as a meeting place for locals and guests alike.

Earth, wood and a view

Omar Bernardi is an apple grower. He and his wife Elisa decided to risk a new start with their family. They purchased 90,000 square meters of land in Comano Terme in the Trentino region to grow apples and to build their house including seven guest rooms The L-shaped house is set into the hill. The guest rooms have one glass front, the family rooms have another. The concrete base plate and back wall hold back the humid earth. The living area above is made of wood with some steel posts to support the construction. The wood is important for the interior climate. People live upstairs and not in the cellar. The rooms are very pleasant, and they “breathe”.

Robert Mair, Member of the Jury of the Constructive Alps Competition

Conference presenting insights on the jury's criteria and evaluation // September the 17th, 15.00, UAR Architecture Cultural Center

Few insights on Robert Mair himself