The Bregenzerwald region in Vorarlberg, with its cultural richness, great biodiversity and contrasting landscapes, represents an exceptional living environment in the Alpine region. Everyday life reflects the bond between the people of Bregenzerwald and their surroundings. Tradition and lived customs combine with a flair for contemporary design and innovative craftsmanship.
The work presented here is a critical examination of the conventional building culture and prevailing expectations. Ideas of living and working are questioned from the point of view of current and future challenges. These include dramatic climatic changes, rapidly rising costs of living and a still ongoing building boom that exploits resources, drives soil sealing and fuels land speculation.
In the research section all these topics are dealt with in detail. Numerous architectural examples serve to illustrate the facts. Subsequently, the use of unoccupied space is examined as an essential approach to solving the problems described. A specific design proposal shows how vacant dwellings can be preserved, filled with life, resources used and the sealing of soil counteracted. The design uses the disused Fischer Wolle spinning mill, which has a production hall typology that has been little appreciated architecturally and is increasingly vacant. It shows how this typology can be revitalised and offer space for alternative forms of housing. The design for the front part of the existing hall conglomerate addresses the question of what is relevant outside of the pure residential function. Those who live there also work, learn, live, and have social needs. Through this connection a concept is formed in which workplace and leisure space interact. The rear part of the conglomerate becomes a future-oriented residential quarter. The design demonstrates a spatial concept that creates added value for both the residents of the area and for the surrounding region. This work shows that new concepts can also find space in existing buildings and that social and design aspects can be combined in high-quality architecture.