The art of building in Vorarlberg: for old and new structures

What a great material

Working with wood has a long tradition in Vorarlberg

The art of building with wood

The region’s cabinetmakers and carpenters are renowned for their great skill and resourcefulness in how they work.


Wood is one of the rich and continuously renewable resources that Vorarlberg has to offer. A valuable material is used in many different ways and has made the region famous for the original and creative use of the material in design and architecture. It is possible to build a multi-storey building from wood – or produce a finely crafted piece of furniture from it. That tradespeople always encounter architects and designers on an equal footing is standard practice for such businesses as the Mohr carpenter’s workshop in Andelsbuch and the timber construction company in Feldkirch. The exciting question of
what it is possible to achieve with wood is the essence of every job. Whether it relates to an elaborate ceiling structure or a minimalist mountain chapel.

“The first generation of innovative architects challenged and motivated us,” says Herbert Brunner, CEO of the Lot timber construction company. “I was always fascinated by these avant-garde architects.” At the time, it looked like the Lot timber construction company that were curious enough to realize the architects’ often radical visions, such as the “wooden box”, A residential building is both completely minimalist and functional. The close and creative cooperation between architects and tradespeople in Vorarlberg has long become a distinguishing feature and sign of quality. From cellars built entirely from wood to wooden bathtubs – anything is possible.

The realization of our high demands is what is important. And those are often to be found in the detail.

Anton Mohr, boss of the Mohr carpenter’s workshop in Andelsbuch

Enduring quality is not least due to the joints that hold the drawers, cupboards and chairs together

The importance of openness and curiosity, Brunner passes on to his young workers. His team includes execution planners, foremen, skilled workers and apprentices who study the designs with the architects, who are on site and building houses in a workshop on timber elements for construction.

Anton Mohr trains young talent in his workshop. He also receives inquiries from other states in the country who want to learn their trade from him. Time always plays a crucial role. “The best thing about carpentry and cabinet-making is that you can see the finished product in just a few days.” It may take 20 hours to build a chest of drawers but it could take 200 depending on the required detail.

The demands made on a bedside table may be transferred to the dimensions of a building

While speed is of the essence in companies concerned with mass production, such companies as Mohr opt for either speed or deliberation, depending on what the project at hand requires. A perfect drawer will not start sticking a little after a year but after 100 years. “New ideas and possibilities emerged from the lively dialogue with the woods and methods of working with them in conjunction with tried-and-tested know-how,” says Mohr. High-tech meets handcrafted.

Herbert Brunner and his team were responsible for the construction of a wellness area for Hotel Bergkristall in Oberlech. It has been designed to be finely fitted silver cleverly installed indirect lighting. Brunner generally works like a cabinet-maker but with the intention of approaching the project as if it were a giant piece of furniture.

Carpenters, e.g. at the Lot timber construction company, either making construction elements in the workshop or work on building sites

Everything that can be made of wood is realized in Anton Mohr’s workshop

Mohr and his staff design their collections themselves, but they do work with designers and architects. Everything that can be made from wood is realized in his workshop: from sideboard to lectern through to kitchens. “The challenge is to return again and again to the task of solving difficult details, both formally and functionally.”

Further information

For more information about the kind of working with wood in Vorarlberg

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Christina Cherry
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