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Cradled within the rolling greens, snow-dusted peaks and fairy-tale castles of Bavarian Allgäu, sits Alpstein Architects, a studio devoted to shaping its homeland with a careful approach to resource, design and sense of place.
With the recent success of member Amrai Suites, a design hotel in Schruns, highlighting one of its modus operandi - its use of local materials paired with time-old traditional crafts, we look at the architects moving mountains in Montafon.
Describing themselves as ‘thinkers, developers, decision-makers, consultants and calculators’, Alpstein Architects show a range of projects within the tourism industry including hotels, spas and restaurants mixed in with some private residences and public spaces. From glittering spas that colour match the grey-blue-black of the mountains and a cuboid hill station hewn only from materials just metres away: wood and stone, to a study in mountain huts which zooms in on nature via stars, meadows and fallen trees, Alpstein are rigorous in their commitment to surroundings. With an immersive sense of place, their structures merge perfectly into their environments, creating buildings with soul, that seem intrinsically linked to nature.
Returning back to the Amrai Suites, we can see a perfect example of how they do this. The floral-motif exterior nods to Montafon traditional costume whilst simultaneously replicating the heritage barns which kept ventilation in the design of their builds. The façade used local craftmanship to carve the wood, keeping traditions of old alive in this contemporary detail.
The priority of Alpstein Architects, especially architects Lukas Schädler and Florian Häusler was to ensure a merging of old traditions from the Montafon alongside a careful alignment of the surrounding nature.
Again, looking to heritage customs, local materials were sourced such as local wood and copper elements based on Montafon mining. The result is airy, light-filled spaces with large glass windows to frame Montafon mountain vistas in what they term ‘puristic architecture’ – a contemporary structure that sits comfortably in its surroundings.
As with other contemporary builds, there is absolutely no eccentric alpine kitsch in sight.