Andelsbuch was made into a parish in 1170, and is considered to be the first parish in the Mittelwald and the Hinterwald. These days, craftsmanship and the building trade with its associated trades play an important role, which is visible and tangible, most notably so in the Werkraum Haus of the “Werkraum Bregenzerwald” association of craftspeople. However it is farming, with its fields and large farmhouses, which continues to shape the villagescape.
1. Werkraum Haus
The “Werkraum Bregenzerwald” is an association of around 95 workshops from the region. Its objective is to improve the economic and artistic options of skilled crafts and trades as well as to boost their public presence. The Werkraum Haus, which was designed by the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, sets an example in this regard. A large roof rests on 14 narrow “pillars” under which the craftspeople assemble. The room is enclosed by glass panes which serve the purpose of promoting and communicating the exhibits, assuming the function of a large display case. The design and its overall completion by the members of the Werkraum were executed with a highly artistic level of precision.
Architect: Peter Zumthor
2. Former railway station
Today, the former station of the now defunct Bregenzerwald railway is home to a culture club of the same name. Just as the railway station is a building where strangers pass by and sometimes get out, the culture club is a station for international artists. They bring their ideas and work to the Bregenzerwald. By the same token, artists from the region have the chance to display their creations to both locals and guests from afar. For instance, the internationally known band “holstuonarmusigbigbandclub”, abbreviated to HMBC, was born here.
3. Village hall
The village hall comprises two parts: an administration building and the district-council meeting hall. The district-council meeting hall, designed on four concrete corner pillars, with a flat roof, flush corner windows and horizontal timber cladding on the façade, enables on the one hand a view of the small shopping street that branches off it and, on the other hand, creates a covered forecourt. Experts on the history of the Bregenzerwald pick up on the similarity with the former council hall on the Bezegg, of which no precise design exists, as a symbol of a “free farmers’ republic”, which was authorised to take some of its own decisions regarding its fate.
Architects: Rolf Ennulat, Wise Geser & Walter Felder, 2003
4. Haus G.
The owners of the estate – comprising a brewery, restaurant, haulage business and farm – were once part of the village’s dignitaries. They also produced mayors. The brewery, restaurant and residential building, the service building and brewer’s residence form an ensemble which goes back to the baroque period. Befittingly renovated following a fire in 1806, the buildings were given simple farmhouse pyramid roofs like those on public buildings, in contrast to the gable roofs. The main building with vault cellar is a timber- log building. It has restaurants on either side of the central corridor. A café did business here until the 1960s.
5. Primary school
The school building from the late 1960s is typical of its time: a school with a corridor with classrooms branching off it, with the classrooms facing south. The difficult terrain and the springs on the foundation soil were the reasons behind it being built with concrete. The staggered location of the main wing with the gymnasium lowered into the ground advantageously blends the school into the landscape. Along with the church and the cemetery wall, it forms a harmonious ensemble as the start of the village. Thorough energy redevelopment was carried out in 1992, followed in 2009 by conformity with new building regulations.
Architect: DI Heinz Köhler
6. Haus G.
A pioneering building by Vorarlberg architects, first inhabited in 1987. A timber building rises up on a concrete foundation. It is typical of this architectural era, a time of changes: it follows the strict logic of a wooden post-and-beam structure, which enabled the owners to do a lot of DIY. Only a few design media such as the row and square were used throughout – in contrast, traditional types of space such as the utility space in front of the house were re-interpreted. Precisely executed, the living areas convey an almost urban flair, helped along by several post-modern details.
Architect: Walter Holzmüller
7. Haus K.
The house aims to save energy, despite being built at an affordable price. The living areas with large windows face the midday sun, with the entrance and side rooms located to the north. A timber structure comprising prefabricated elements rises from a concrete base. The large windows have triple glazing, the small windows have double glazing. The house achieves a low-energy standard even without a ventilation system. Heat is supplied by a geothermal heat pump. Its power consumption corresponds to that of the household. A retrofitted photovoltaic system produces more power than the house needs. Seven and a half cubic metres of rain water are collected, and then used for the toilets, the washing machine and watering the garden.
Architect: Bernardo Bader
8. Haus U. + E.
A building containing numerous apartments is known as a “block of flats”. This is also the name given to an ensemble located around a courtyard, surrounded by roads. This building, on the other hand, is based on the surrounding countryside and the four points of the compass. About the size of a farmhouse, it brings together several apartments under one single roof. The supporting walls and ceilings are concrete as far as the top floor, on which a wooden construction stands. The apartments are illuminated from both sides. On the mountain side, they have access to the garden, with each apartment having an entrance from the courtyard to the garages and multi-purpose rooms.
Architect: Helmut Dietrich
9. Haus S.
Researchers observe their object, make distinctions, compare, evaluate, draw conclusions, search for binding information. This is what a house researcher such as Thomas Mennel also does. His idea of a house can easily conflict with that which his research object represents. Especially when he, like Thomas Mennel, is an architect himself. A house with yellow fibre cement shingles once stood on this spot. It was home to two headstrong women, and was known as “the witches’ house”. The new building, completed in 1999, with its irregular fibre cement façade, the elaborate roof indentations and the unusual arrangement of the windows, tie in with the idea of the witches’ house.
Architect: Thomas Mennel
10. Wälder Insurance
The house displays new developments in the field of architecture: the structure is compact and highlights shapes such as cubes and a three-sided prism (as a roof). The wall and the roof surfaces are all the same. The different-sized windows have been freely distributed over all surfaces, with some of them hidden behind slats. It bears no relation to the structure of a farmhouse. The passive-house-standard building is a modern timber structure. Each part has its own task: supporting part, strutting, sealing, insulation and decoration. The roof is made up of 15 layers. At the very top is a layer of silver fir grating on a black foil roof, with a bit of space in between.
Architects: ARGE Jürgen Haller & Peter Plattner
Book & Folder
Details of the objects are described in an accompanying folder. Furthermore, a book on the subject containing the background histories to the way of life in the Bregenzerwald is available. The information media are available from any one of the tourist information offices and from Bregenzerwald Tourismus.