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Werkraumhaus Andelsbuch (c) Peter Rigaud

A tribute to craftsmanship

Werkraum Bregenzerwald

built by architect Peter Zumthor and local tradespeople. The open structure with the glass façade is a tribute to craftsmanship.

TEXT: JULIA GROSSE


A slight squealing noise can often be heard coming from the main road that takes drivers through Andelsbuch. From the cars, usually driven by people just passing through, that suddenly start slowing down – not because there’s a speed trap but because of the architecture! A minimalist glass structure with a generous dark and overhanging wooden roof, designed by the renowned Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, was built by the tradespeople of the region right in the centre of the village in 2013. The landscape appears to literally flow through the Werkraumhaus’ glass façade which is so extraordinary and inviting that visitors just have to stop and take a seat at one of the wooden tables located in the comfortable interior or, on a warm day, outside in the shade under the overhanging roof.

No other place in Europe is able to boast such a density of tradespeople as the Bregenzerwald who are able to draw on an entire region’s know-how and skills that have come down through the generations. The Werkraumhaus is an open place for these skills, a tribute to regional craftsmanship, but also to innovation, daring and a precise eye for new forms.

For Peter Zumthor, the Werkraumhaus is a joint project between him and the tradespeople. He needs highly skilled tradespeople to realise his visions, which is why working with them is important to him.

Managing Director of Bregenzerwald Werkraum
Thomas Geisler (c) Udo Mittelberger
Werkraum Bregenzerwald Ausstellung Treppe (c) Peter Rigaud

Thomas Geisler: „Of all the workplaces I’ve experienced previously, I can’t think of another that is as exciting as this one.”“

Tradespeople from the region showcase their work at the Werkraumhaus

Some people will often wonder, for example, how a delicate chair is actually made but there’s no way that they would simply stroll into a carpentry shop and ask. “So we could actually be regarded as a showroom as well as a link to the many regional firms who present their work here.” A recent Werkraum show, for instance, was devoted to the around 90 member businesses – carpenters, upholsterers, shoemakers, tailors, goldsmiths, florists and felters – which presented their works across the entire space: visitors spent whole afternoons here admiring children’s swings made from brilliantly coloured felt, running their hands across tables made from maple wood or pulling out superbly constructed drawers as if in a perfect place built from quality and good style.

The reduced-looking Werkraumhaus with its glass façade and exposed concrete walls meets the curious amazement of its visitors with hospitality: the restaurant inside serves lunch, drinks, tea and coffee as well as homemade cakes. And the team only has to draw the soft and heavy loden curtains that hang from the dark wooden ceiling to create a more intimate atmosphere for smaller events.

Werkraum Bregenzerwald Ausstellung Farb (c) Arno Gisinger
Werkraum Stuehle (c) Peter Rigaud
Werkraum Ausstellung (c) Peter Rigaud

Transparent platform: the Werkraumhaus combines innovative craftsmanship with a perfect view of the landscape

Art and perfection are found in the courageous and driven devotion to the most daring of details

the around 90 Werkraum members show their products – from fine furniture to innovative building solutions – on 700 m²

Andelsbuch also welcomes its guests with an idyll of meadows and timber buildings

The Werkraumhaus is not the only minimalist structure in the village. Although Andelsbuch does receive visitors with an architecturally-rustic idyll consisting of mountain meadows and decorated wooden balconies with brilliantly flowering geraniums, the air of tranquillity is deceptive: the two-storey wooden cube that is home to Andelsbuch’s local council offices and that has aged elegantly like a Hollywood star with good genes, stands opposite the Werkraumhaus: the wood has taken all the time in the world to assume the grey-brown hue that is typical of the region – for many an aficionado, the best shade that a colour can be. The new headquarters for the Wälder Versicherung insurance company, which has also been built from wood, is located just a few metres further along. And right in the middle of all this is the Werkraumhaus. A little as if it had always been there. An inviting and modest centre of calm that will in future continue to cause many a motorist driving through the village to slow down.

    • Werkraum Bregenzerwald

      Werkraum Bregenzerwald

      Werkraum is an association of regional craftspeople in the Bregenzerwald. The Werkraum building showcases…

      Werkraum Bregenzerwald
      Street: Hof800
      Place: 6866 Andelsbuch
      Phone:+43 5512 26386
      Fax:+43 5512 26387
      Website:http://www.werkraum.at
      E-Mail:info@werkraum.at

      Werkraum Bregenzerwald

      Description

      Werkraum is an association of regional craftspeople in the Bregenzerwald. The Werkraum building showcases select objects created by regional craftspeople; it runs changing exhibitions, hosts events and accommodates a stylish cafe against the scenic backdrop of the wide valley.

      Out of profound appreciation, the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, designer of the Bregenz Kunsthaus and of the Vals spa, developed this surprisingly urban frame for craftsmanship and gave it a most…

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The region

Bregenzerwald

Popular with skiing and hiking enthusiasts, Bregenzerwald is the place for those who appreciate the finer things of life. It’s famed for the surprising juxtaposition of traditional and contemporary architecture, innovative handicraft and the KäseStrasse. Exceptional: the Werkraumhaus in Andelsbuch. International: the Schubertiade Festival in Schwarzenberg.

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