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House P in Allgäu by Dietrich | Untertrifaller Architects

House P in Allgäu by Dietrich | Untertrifaller Architects

Client: Private
Architecture: Dietrich | Untertrifaller Architekten
Project management: Felix Kruck
Construction time: 2018-2019
Area: 245 m²

Partner site
Management & timber construction:
Zeh Holzbau, Maierhöfen
Timber statics: Merz Kley Partner, Dornbirn
Heating, sanitary: Filser, Weiler
Electrics: Fink, Röthenbach
Interior fittings: Schreinerei Haas, Wangen

Photos: © Albrecht I. Schnabel

On the edge of a densely built-up settlement in the Allgäu hill country, we have built a well-thought-out, multifaceted residential house made of wood. The adjoining popular local recreation and landscape protection area has moved us to include the surrounding nature significantly in the design of the house. The new building takes on the proportions of the desolate existing building from the 1960s. 

The staggering story set back on the street side communicates with the slope, the originally steep course of which we have restored. The restrained, horizontally structured architecture with the facade made of local woods blends harmoniously into the natural space. Floor-to-ceiling glazing, lines of sight, and open living spaces that open up numerous perspectives and vistas stage nature and bring it into the house.

The narrow, only 840 m² property rises steeply from the street to the garden. On the street-side slope, we have accommodated a granny flat and the garage. A simple wooden staircase leads to the living area above with an open living-dining-kitchen area, two bedrooms, and a bathroom. 

The entire south facade with a view of the garden is glazed to the ceiling. However, even on the north side, floor-to-ceiling windows ensure transparency and brightness. Only the side fronts are more closed and protect the few openings with wooden slats from the neighbors. 

The children have their own space in the attic. The three rooms plus bathroom can later be separated by a separate entrance as an independent apartment. This enables flexible use from family houses to multigenerational houses. 

A special highlight is a covered veranda cut deep into the facade on the west side of the top floor. The framed view falls on the chestnut tree, which hides the gable of the neighboring house, and the gently sloping garden, so that you feel as if you are in a lodge in the middle of the great outdoors.

The materials used also contribute to this natural feeling of living. Except for the parts in contact with the ground, the entire house is made of wood. The facade is clad with crossbars made of silver fir. 

The recessed or roofed outer surfaces consist of oak boards laid lengthways. Over time, this creates an attractive contrast between graying silver fir and golden-brown oak. The overhang of the living area and the all-around balcony of the top floor act as constructive sun protection for the rooms below. 

Comfortable oak and light lime plaster dominate the interior. The large black steel fireplace built into the white wall sets interesting accents and also acts as a room divider and shields the living area.

The slightly inclined gable roof is completely covered with photovoltaic panels and enables efficient yet inconspicuous power generation. The accumulators in the cellar store the surplus electricity so that the heat pump can be fed with self-produced electricity. Good planning consciously takes into account the surroundings, takes into account what is already there and the building adapts to its property. 

We built house P with the slope and not against it. It is actually a disadvantage if the slope side is oriented to the south. We have used this location so that you can enter the house in the north at ground level and you can also access the terraced garden directly from the south-facing living rooms on the upper floor. The quality of the architecture, the sustainable construction, and the flexible use will give the builders pleasure for a long time to come.