Letting light in and using views were the objectives of the project to enlarge an old house in the Austrian city of Dornbirn.
Haus Hohlen was built in 1961 on a hill overlooking Dorbirn, Austria. The site, protected on the uphill side by a small forest, offers privileged views of the Rhine delta and Lake Constance. The 85-square-meter house became too small for the owners and in 2012 they decided to enlarge it, calling in the architect Jochen Specht. A first stage involved demolishing all elements deemed not essential to the preservation of the building. Due to the need for more space and the desire to revamp the facade, the intervention revolved around erecting a new envelope a certain distance from the perimeter of the old house, and with this, extending the roof on all sides. The new facade was raised with a frame of aluminum and wood, in tune with the forest,
using a system that benefits from the advantages of modern structures: prefabrication, quick construction, sustainability, and a pleasant indoor ambience. In contrast with the solidness of the original building, the new one presents a play of generous windows that make a point of capturing the privileged views of the valley and forest, creating an indoor space that is open and protected at the same time. Together with randomly arrayed closed wall panels, the windows generate a sophisticated facade pattern. The added interior space connects with the original home through the old windows, turned into passageways, niches, or entrances for light.