© Albrecht I. Schnabel

The significance of place and craftmanship

The Vorarlberg region and the Bregenzerwald characterise the identity of Dietrich Untertrifaller. Every project that we bring to life carries a piece of this identity within it. Craftsmanship plays a key role in this - not in the sense of skills and qualities, but in the sense of attitude and appreciation of the context, resources and cooperation. In this respect, Vorarlberg symbolises far more than just the beginning of our history. Vorarlberg is sort of our laboratory, where everyone is the product of their environment, where we mutually benefit from each other through respectful interaction, joint discussions and open dialogue at eye level. The underlying aspirations we demand from ourselves and others is a constant element in our architecture and our approach.

This development has historical reasons: a cultural movement has taken place as local building culture professionals have merged together. New ways of life, which find expression in timber construction and traditional shapes, were brought to the outside world through a public discourse with society. Vorarlberg has also proven itself in a global context: It has developed its own timber construction and architectural landscape and has set new architectural and craft standards. The transfer of knowledge and appreciation of craftsmanship and local resources is of immense importance for regional building culture and for us as its representatives, especially in times of a transition in the constructiion industry. Nevertheless, with this development also comes the responsibility to draw attention to challenges in the region, such as affordable housing and redensification and engage further in reconstruction projects.

What exactly does our craftsmanship look like? A strong connection to the landscape and a passion for materials are paired with pragmatism that maintains the scale of dimensions and proportions, with all functions under one roof and with a high quality of use. On this basis, we have built a wealth of experience of over 35 years, which we can bring to other regions and realise on different scales. Therfore, the Festspielhaus follows the same principles as a residential neighbourhood in Freiburg or a school in France.

Text: Anu Walser, February 2024

Building on

Building with and within existing structures has a very long tradition and is more important today than ever. Dealing with our existing building stock is a highly relevant aspect for climate protection and it will be one of the biggest challenges for our industry in the coming decades. The decisive factor in this context is not our buildings’ operation but the hidden grey energy over their entire life cycle. The most sustainable building is therefore the one that is already there. As much as the remodelling and extending of buildings is a challenge for architects and all those involved in planning and construction, it also holds and demands a great deal of creativity and flexibility, inspiring new and exciting ways to build.

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Wood in the City

The return of timber as a urban building material has by now been recognised at almost all levels. There are many arguments in favour of its use, enabling it to re-establish itself in the urban environment - also beyond high-rise buildings. In recent years, load-bearing structures made of wood have been built in cities around the world. The positive experiences made are encouraging. And also investors are increasingly focussing on this renewable building material.

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Angelika Kauffmann Museum, Schwarzenberg (AT)
Continue building, Historic preservation

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Collège Simone-Veil, Lamballe (FR)
New building

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House DI, Bregenz (AT)
New building

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