Gourmets, on the other hand, appreciate the Felder cheese made by Schoppernau alpine dairy. However, most people know the village from the song “Vo Mello bis ge Schoppornou” by a musician native to the village and his band.The village also demonstrates its cosmopolitan views in its architecture. Old, renovated farmhouses stand next to contemporary buildings which make Schoppernau’s transformation from a farming village to a tourist resort visible.
1. Business and cultural centre
Everything under one roof: tourist information office, bank and hairdresser. On the first floor, poet F. M. Felder is honoured. Next to this is the library and a room for musicians. The rooms on the ground floor can be seen from people on the street and offer views right through the building. Apart from the Felder Museum, which has two large windows, the rooms at the top of the building are closed to the street. The game with the lines of vision is as much a part of the tradition of the farmhouse as the roof and the building material of timber. Here, however, it is used in a thoroughly modern way.
Architect: Matthias Hein
2. Fire station and mountain-rescue station
The building which houses the fire station and the mountain rescue station demarcates the square behind the village hall which is gaining in popularity as a party zone and market square. The architect used the slightly sloping terrain for arranging the rooms: the high rooms for the vehicles are located on the bottom, the two training rooms at the top offer a view of the open country and the business and cultural centre. The sprucewood of the shell and the silver fir inside the building both come from the village’s own forest. A concrete box as a vehicle depot in the timber building serves as fire protection. The vehicles – the pride of the fire brigade – can be seen through the glazed doors, as if on display in a shop window.
Architect: Matthias Hein, 2005
3. Schoppernau mountain cheese dairy
Franz Michael Felder, born in 1839, was a farmer in Schoppernau. It is fitting to name a cheese after him since he established a cheese trading association in order to break down the trade monopoly of the “cheese counts” which put the farmers at a disadvantage. Along with his brother-in-law Kaspar Moosbrugger, he established the “Vorarlbergische Partei der Gleichberechtigung” (Vorarlberg Party of Equality for Social Classes) and a cattle insurance company in 1866. His social commitment is also expressed in his tales and novels. This made him unpopular with the local clergy. Dying in 1869 as a 30-year-old outsider, today he has become a legend.
4. Haus B.
The farmhouse from the 19th century shows the main architectural feature of this area: variety. In the middle, the core of the residential building: a timber-log structure made from beams placed on top of each other, sealed with moss. The corners or walls to be integrated are interlocked, or “cogged”. The utility space to the right is a post-and-beam structure with upright beams supporting the building from the ground to the roof. A pantry and the workshop are connected to the left-hand side: the log method was used for the pantry, beams for the workshop. Timber-log structures are excellent for conversions and extensions. They are frequently taken down and put back up in a different location.
5. Haus M.
The unusually large farmhouse, originally from the 17th century, has been extended several times. These days, it also houses two holiday apartments. It has been covered by shingles since the 19th century. Around 60,000 shingles fit on a house of this size. Roofs made from layer shingles have been used in the alpine region since primeval times. The mass production of steel nails in the 19th century also made the shingling of walls affordable. Shingles made from spruce or silver fir are usually rounded and three layers are nailed to a timber cladding. They last for several generations.
6. Old saw
This sawmill building has been situated on the location of a burnt-down predecessor building since the 1930s. A frame saw operated here until the mid-1980s. The frame had up to 20 saw blades. A power-operated band saw is in use here now. The power is generated in a hydroelectric power station by means of turbine and generator. The band saw has advantages: it enables made-to-measure cuts and doesn’t just produce simple boards or beams like a frame saw. The use of a band saw therefore makes niche products from mass-produced articles.
7. Primary school
The symmetrical façade of the schoolhouse shows its history. The first schoolhouse opened in 1901. This building forms the left side of the current structure. It soon became too small for what was then the Austrian village with the most children, and was extended in 1949. The timber-log building on a stone base typical of the village made it easy to almost double the original building. And so a square floor plan arose. A further extension followed in 1992 along with the redevelopment of the energy facilities. Now, teachers and pupils alike can enjoy the atmospheric quality of the building. It was only by retaining the original structure that it could be designed so spaciously.
8. Haus A.
A residential building typical of younger architects in the Bregenzerwald: low-sloped roof, large wooden spaces, large windows and a recessed, covered entrance. The house forms an ensemble with its two neighbouring buildings: all three houses belong to one family. They have a shared garden which protects the house towards the street. Its height proves its worth in the winter with its long shadows. The bedrooms on the ground floor are shielded from traffic from the street by means of side rooms. The living areas on the top floor have a large recessed balcony with a view of the Kanisfluh.
Architects: Rene Bechter & Bernardo Bader
9. Holiday house “Tailor’s shop”
The building is a timber-log structure. The beams of the wall are only 12 cm thick. It was covered on the inside. During redevelopment work, it was exposed and, these days, can be seen up close inside the building. A tailor’s shop was originally located on the ground floor, with the family living on the top floor. As a homage to the former function of the building, a classic material used by gentlemen’s outfitters, loden, has been put on the ceilings. The softness of the material and the properties of the wood give the rooms a natural, cosy atmosphere.
Architect: firm ZT GmbH