Vorarlberg has seen its building culture develop along a special path with a movement beginning in the late 1950s and early 1960s that has been labelled the Vorarlberger Bauschule (Vorarlberg School of Building), a name that resonates far beyond local and national borders and is now represented by a relatively high density of quality architecture. What we are trying provide here, is a comprehensive historical overview of the origins, the peculiar lines of development and the players of this phenomenon in the form of text, imagery, data, and digital resources.
Against the background of the global trend towards a rapidly increasing need for housing, the exhibition shows a broad spectrum of singular, collective, and temporary forms of residential building, all of which witness a new understanding of the role of the user and are clearly inscribed in the DNA of the Vorarlberg “school” of architecture. In the recent past new projects have reacted to these demands, offering hybrid forms between living and working spaces or what are known as models for “co-working”. With an increased focus on the reform of well-known forms of teaching and learning in all fields of education, the quality of the architectural environment is again at the centre of public interest.
In the sense of today’s ecological and epistemological re-evaluations of “our” relationship to nature, we pay particular attention to ecological and biological aspects in construction and to building strategies designed to conserve resources and minimize greenhouse gases, to low-energy and passive house technologies, and to innovative timber construction. We also examine how far regional development should be expanded in the future to include specific developmental criteria for town and traffic planning.
A well-developed ability to give and take criticism is necessary if there are to be positive advances in the current state of things, and, with this in mind, the exhibition pays particular attention to the development prospects for building activities in the region and presents young designers for whom the notions of experimentation and tradition hold no contradiction.
To understand the quality of workmanship and the high degree of regional added value, it is necessary to examine the role of industry and the skilled trades and crafts as they interact with building developments in Vorarlberg. The Werkraum Bregenzerwald initiative is eloquent testimony to the self-understanding, the significance, and the potential of craft techniques and product design in the region, which also finds expression the form and sensual quality of the exhibition architecture.
The major role that the local authorities play in allocating and enhancing public building projects is elucidated via a selection of paradigmatic art projects that were implemented in and on public buildings using one per cent of the construction budget. Here the viewer can, as it were, look through the lens of the art work at the specific symbiosis of art and architecture.