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Openness is a Frame of Mind

How a wooden house is blurring boundaries.

  • The Tirolean house is clad in real wood and adorned with a gabled roof.

    The Tirolean house is clad in real wood and adorned with a gabled roof. © Photograph Christian Vorhofer

  • A homely connection to nature in Tirol.

    A homely connection to nature in Tirol. © Photograph Christian Vorhofer

  • Conscious transition creating a seamless flow between indoors and out.

    Conscious transition creating a seamless flow between indoors and out. © Photograph Christian Vorhofer

Shōji is the native term for the traditional sliding paper doors, windows and room dividers in classical Japanese architecture. They are representative of a philosophy of flowing space whilst ensuring a sense of harmony. Inhabitants can leave a room open to all or shut it off completely as they desire, all thanks to these sliding paper doors.

Blurring the boundary between indoors and out: over 9,000 km away from Japan this concept is finding a new home in a newly-built house in the Austrian Alps. Here, the doors of the internal courtyard can be opened – their sliding wooden elements echoing the surrounding landscape – to provide a playroom, a garden and a refuge all at once. The flexibility of the Shōji-inspired sliding elements enable both complete isolation and total openness. Amongst all of this there is still plenty of room to play – the inhabitants have 10 complete sliding elements to switch around as they see fit.

“With his work, an architect builds relationships. Relationships to the location, to the environment, to the task; most importantly to the people with whom and for whom he builds.”

Architect Reinhold Hammerer

Architect Reinhold Hammerer’s vision was a modern interpretation of a traditional farmhouse, but one completely integrated into its original alpine landscape. The extraordinary sliding elements take this one step further: they bring the outside in. The house is clad in real wood, but at its heart lies hidden EGGER OSB 4 Top, DHF and MDF boards.

Japanese architecture on Austrian sliding elements make a considerable contribution to the overall feeling of comfort. © Fotograf Christian Vorhofer