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Bernardo Bader Architekten, Dorfhaus, Rofan

In Dialogue with Place and People: Dorfhaus Steinberg am Rofan

“Some Steinbergers still tell me I have built a better sort of farmhouse here, which pleases me, but confuses them”, Bernardo Bader relates. Indeed, he has interpreted the fabric of the village Steinberg am Rofan in a modern way. Tranquil, restrained in its design and offering clear contextual references, the community-centre project self-evidently embeds into surroundings characterized by extensive open spaces and small-scale residential buildings. With its precise placement, the elongated structure defines a new village centre.

The compact, wooden building features a gable roof that follows the local style of the surrounding structures. While the old Steinberg buildings have stone bases, all the parts of the community centre that touch the ground are of concrete. The sophisticated partitioning inside, which also takes up the typology of the traditional farmhouse, punctuates the “better sort of farmhouse” remark. What would be the living area is here a restaurant with a village shop; the threshing floor is the glazed entrance, and the barn is a multipurpose hall that can be arranged as needed. The consistent use of regional larchwood continues the local building methods as one more way the architect has created so many possibilities for Steinberg’s inhabitants to identify with their community centre.

One of the few yet generous openings invites visitors to come together via a paved forecourt. The front portion of the building has two storeys; it comprises the restaurant and its ancillary spaces. The multipurpose hall, which is protected from the ground, faces the slope. The exposed-concrete foyer at the heart of the structure can both delimit the sleek sequence of spaces and join them for larger events. The high, tactile interior environment comes primarily from the choice of materials: the untreated larchwood has an excellent ecological balance and provides toxin-free air.

Bernardo Bader Architekten’s design for this village community centre has been distinguished with Tyrol’s 2019 prize for wooden buildings.

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