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  • ERDEN Wohnen housing – Case Study St. Gerold

    Housing is a central pillar of our society; a holistic topic, just like sustainability and regional economics. The ERDEN Wohnen project combines these two aspects and explores a framework for affordable, ecological housing made of rammed earth, the low CO2 building material, in Vorarlberg. The hypothesis is that rammed earth construction, thanks to its proven performance combined with modern technology, can deliver the same economic benefits as the timber construction industry has for the last 30 years, when Vorarlberg became internationally renowned as a pioneer in the field. Like timber construction, earth as a raw material holds great potential for the regional value chain. In future, a crisis-proof local source of raw materials will play a more important role in the context of a regional circular economy. As part of the regional government’s Housing Research Program, a first case study “ERDEN Wohnen / St. Gerold” is being carried out. A research team of architects, building contractors, earth and timber construction experts as well as the Vorarlberg Energy Institute worked on a practicable solution that will serve as a precedent for future buildings.

    The basis of the design is derived from a detailed analysis of the settlement structure and typology of vernacular Walser houses; topography and circulation as site-specific and context-related issues, and material and construction as task-specific factors. The insights gained from this research lead to clear, logical and self-evident parameters on several levels. Building on the lower parts of the hillside prevents urban sprawl across a rural area; an overall site use concept enables a kind of clustering of hamlets through spatial densification. This relates to the subordination of every building to the overall concept and consequently the radical decision to move the project to another site. The steep hillside site is accessed via an existing service road. The first phase of construction involves two compact structures with gable roofs and efficient floor plans on the valley side of the service road. Positioned in offset relation to each other, the two volumes interact spatially. The altered topography made for a former stable building enables a communal, useful outdoor space. The inherent characteristics of the construction materials have defined how they can be used, a fact which is evident in the buildings’ outward appearance. The main focus lies on the sensible use of ecological and sustainable materials.

    Design Team: Andreas Cukrowicz, Anton Nachbaur-Sturm, Michael Mayer, Rebecca Jakowski
    Project Team: Philipp Schertler [PL], Roland Gmeinder, Andreas Cukrowicz, Anton Nachbaur-Sturm
    Client: Lehm Ton Erde GmbH, Schlins / private
    Competition 2021 1st Prize, Construction 2022-2023