Monday, July 14, 2008

Modern Architecture in Vorarlberg

Vorarlberg is the westernmost Bundesland of Austria, well-known for the beautiful Alpine landscape but now also as a hotbed of modern architecture. Travellers journeying through the varied landscape admire the mountains and lakes, enjoy the hospitality in the villages and towns, become acquainted with the way of life and the traditions - and they note one other thing: the Vorarlberg's architecture. Often made of wood and glass, these mostly bright, lightweight structures are characterised by clear lines and a sophisticated simplicity. A regional movement at the beginning of the 1980s which developed out of the work of a number of pioneers, achivied recognition under the title "Vorarlberger Baukünstler". Now it enjoys an international reputation attracting experts and visitors from all over the world.
Traditional know-how has been successfully transferred to contemporary building methods and shapes Vorarlberg's architecture. In Vorarlberg 80 % of all newly built apartment buildings meet the criteria for ecological housing subsidies. The region thus encourages low energy consumption, the use of renewable energy sources as well as ecological, environmentally friendly building products. Additionally, an increasing number of buildings reach the high standard of the passive energy house. A passive house is a building in which a comfortable interior climate can be maintained without active heating and cooling systems. The house heats and cools itself, hence "passive". As well as forming an important contribution to the protection of the environment and the climate, this practice improves the quality of the spaces we live in and assures the long-term value of the buildings.
Today innovative prize-winning achievements by craftsmen are exported far beyond the regional borders.