The Werkraum House, in the small village of Andelsbuch, is the latest addition to Swiss Pritzker Prize-winning architect Peter Zumthor's carefully composed portfolio of work; and, with his known love of crafts, it will come as no surprise.
Zumthor has a long-standing relationship with Werkraum, the crafts and trade association in Austria's leafy Bregenzwald region. The association counts 80 makers, builders and artisans - from brick-workers, upholsterers and painters, to cabinet-makers, metal workers, cobblers, carpenters and floor-layers - in its membership register.
Zumthor's contact with Werkraum started in the early 1990s, while he was working on the Kunsthaus in nearby Bregenz. 'Ever since that, he kept in touch with our craftspeople', recalls Werkraum CEO Renate Breuss. 'As a trained cabinet maker himself he was so moved by the passion and ideas behind our association that he offered to design the building in 2008.'
Now completed, the timber and concrete building combines a contemporary, minimalist design with the area's centuries-old local traditions. The relatively modestly-shaped low structure features a striking, large wooden roof and generous, glass-enclosed exhibition spaces. Equipped with offices, seminar and meeting rooms and display areas, it was designed in painstaking detail to provide a much needed space for the association's activities and also to act as a platform for promoting the work and value of local crafts.
'The building was conceived as a showcase and a meeting point for the crafts', says Breuss. 'The result reflects our values and suits our purpose very well - to be a meeting point for the people of the valley and for people from abroad, for crafts and culture. Zumthor brings together the rural context with the world, the local qualities and spirits with the international.'
The recently opened Werkraum House has also launched its first exhibition – which runs until 5 October – where its 80 members will each present one piece that highlights their approach.
Receive our daily digest of inspiration, escapism and design stories from around the world direct to your inbox
Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).
Hella Jongerius named Honorary Royal Designer for Industry 2023
The Dutch designer received the Honorary Royal Designer for Industry 2023 accolade alongside creatives from different disciplines
By Rosa Bertoli Published
London restaurant and tequila bar Ixchel brings Mexico’s timeless flavour to every sip and bite
On London’s King’s Road, Ixchel offers an unmissable fusion of Mexican art, cuisine and atmosphere
By Sofia de la Cruz Published
Matthew M Williams is leaving Givenchy
American designer Matthew M Williams is set to exit his role as creative director of Givenchy after a three-year tenure
By Jack Moss Published
We tour the construction site of Peter Zumthor’s De Meelfabriek in Amsterdam
Peter Zumthor, Studio Akkerhuis, LOLA and Piet Oudolf come together to breathe new life into the listed monument of the De Meelfabriek in the Netherlands, at the same time revitilising a whole neighbourhood through architecture in Leiden
By Yoko Choy Last updated
Peter Zumthor’s Devon villa shortlisted for RIBA House of the Year
Inspired by Andrea Palladio, the ‘Secular Retreat’ by Atelier Peter Zumthor with Mole Architects is a modern holiday home described by the RIBA House of the Year judges as a ‘powerful object in the landscape’
By Bethan Ryder Last updated
Touching the void: Peter Zumthor’s tribute to Norway’s mining past
By Jonathan Bell Last updated
Inside architect Peter Zumthor’s wooden holiday home in the Swiss Alps
By Emma O'Kelly Last updated
Dark arts: Peter Zumthor and Louise Bourgeois’ brooding Steilneset memorial
By Jonathan Bell Published