Olperer House in the Zillertal Alps

The architects deliberately opted for a Spartan concept for this new shelter, regarding it as an appropriate response to the unique, exposed location in the Zillertal Alps. It was also of advantage in view of having to execute the work at a height of 2,400 m above sea level. The two-storey timber building, designed to provide simple accommodation for hikers and mountaineers, is a low-tech structure that has been reduced to basics. Only a few materials were used, and the quantities were kept extremely small. In view of the fact that the house is occupied only during the summer months, it was also possible to reduce the mechanical services to a minimum. Timber from the previous building on this site will be used in the coming years to fuel a wood-fired stove, and the waste heat from a rape-oil-powered cogeneration plant (installed to treat soil water), will be exploited as well. At the end facing the valley, the building, with its clear, simple lines, projects out 2.5 m beyond the retaining wall, which was built with stone from the immediate surroundings and which also encloses the terrace in the form of a massive plinth. Through a broad panorama window, the ground floor area for guests commands a view of the glacier at the other end of the valley. On the upper floor are modestly furnished rooms for overnight stays. This simple structure was erected to a large extent with laminated plywood elements between 125 and 176 mm thick. These were also used for the pitched roofs. The wall and floor slabs, up to 11 m in length, were brought to site by helicopter and assembled with simple connections. Clad on the outside solely with wood shingles, the building nevertheless provides adequate thermal protection in summer without additional insulation. Some distance from the main house, a smaller framed structure with thermal insulation was erected to provide accommodation in winter. At that time of year, the panorama window in the larger house is protected by shutters that are hung in place. All other windows are fitted with hinged shutters. Over the years, the wood shingles will weather, and the house will recede even further into the magnificent surrounding landscape.
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