Thörl is situated in the northern region of the Austrian province Styria, which means the area lies predominantly in a temperate climate zone. Subsequently experiencing cold snowy winters and warm summers, which have definitely influenced the design process, construction, and details. The surrounding region can be classified as very mountainous and is not reachable by car, but exclusively by foot.
Especially the more mountainous areas in Austria are used to a lot of snowfall during the winter, which makes this project very special. Avalanche security measures had to be taken to ensure the visitors’ safety and access to running water as well as food and drinks were very limited. Therefore, a reasonable connection to the regional water supply was implemented in the construction process.
For the moderately warm Austrian summers, which reach a maximum of about 30°-35°C, a large front terrace provides a nice outside space for public use. Since the Voisthaler Hut is being used as an alpine refuge, an adequate combination of culturally significant ways of construction, as well as aesthetics and function, was essential.
The new Voisthaler Hut is situated in the high valley of Upper Dullwitz as a highly visible landmark. As a point of orientation between Hochschwab, Wetterkogel, Karlhochkogel, and Fölzsattel, it replaces the existing hut and appears as a simple, clear volume in the high alpine terrain. The setting in the large natural landscape is an interplay of site-specific characteristics (topography, weather sides, view), function, and form – a combination of architecture and site. Due to the logistically challenging location, prefabricated timber construction was chosen as a sensible building form.
The formal realization of the new hut is derived both from a general attitude towards a sensitive integration of a typical (mountain) landscape and the primary requirement of its function as a shelter: respect and modesty towards the site’s simplicity are thus formally carried outwards. The exterior appearance is marked by the character of the natural wooden surface, which has an inviting effect, and promises a home atmosphere.
The facade consists of shifting timber slats that have been left untreated so that the appearance of the hut will slowly merge with its surroundings. The interior is dominated by visibly left wooden surfaces of the cross-laminated timber construction and the floorboards.
Architects: Dietger Wissounig Architekten
Area: 740 m²
Manufacturers: Binderholz, Georg Bechter Licht, Muuto, Trewit
Building Physics: rosenfelder & höfler
Structural Engineering: GDP ZT GmbH
Architectural Supervision: Dietger Wissounig, Patrick Steiner
Project Collaboration: Claudia Pittino, Gernot Moser, Matthias Holzner
Program / Use / Building Function: Tourism, alpine refuge
Building Technology: Pechmann GmbH