Format Elf Architekten adds blackened timber
cottages to a rural German resort


German studio Format Elf Architekten has designed three holiday cottages for a resort in the Bavarian countryside that resemble archetypal pitched-roof barns (+ slideshow).

Hoftgut by Format Elf Architekten

The owners of the Hofgut estate, which offers luxury accommodation, dining and spa facilities, asked Format Elf Architekten to create the houses for guests looking to stay for longer periods than the existing facilities allowed.

Hoftgut by Format Elf Architekten

The three longhouses (langhäuser) provide more floor space and include a fully-equipped kitchen so guests can cook for themselves.

The houses are designed to evoke agricultural buildings typical in the region and feature pitched roofs that create an archetypal silhouette, "like a kid would draw a house – as simple as it could get."

Hoftgut by Format Elf Architekten

Black-stained timber used to clad the structures was chosen to enhance the connection to vernacular buildings and to help them blend in with the dark tones of the surrounding forest.

Hoftgut by Format Elf Architekten

"The silhouettes of the houses are reduced to their essence and have an iconic and sharp appearance," architect Stefan Hanninger told Dezeen. "The material of the facade is blackened timber which creates a conceptual bridge to the old weather-beaten barn."

Hoftgut by Format Elf Architekten

Each of the three buildings employs a similar aesthetic but is differentiated by details such as the arrangement of terraces and window openings that relate to their position on the estate.

Hoftgut by Format Elf Architekten

One of the houses is situated on the edge of a pond and features the lightest finishes and the most glazing.

Hoftgut by Format Elf Architekten

Another cottage looks out across a sloping field and employs a muted palette of light brown, while the third building nestled in a woodland clearing has a darker interior with solid materials to reflect its intimate location.

Hoftgut by Format Elf Architekten

Recessed sections of the facades provide sheltered terraces, while protruding volumes with glazed surfaces contain window seats that frame views of the landscape.

Inside the buildings, the pitched roofs create sloping ceilings above double-height living and dining areas.

Hoftgut by Format Elf Architekten
Diagrams - click for larger image

Separate structures inserted inside the simple shells rise toward the roofs to provide mezzanine levels that contain an extra bedroom, bathroom or dining space.

Hoftgut by Format Elf Architekten
Plans - click for larger image

All three cottages are surrounded by outdoor areas with fire pits and two of them have bathtubs next to log-burning stoves in the living rooms.

Hoftgut by Format Elf Architekten
Elevations - click for larger image

The bath in the third cottage is situated in the loft space, beneath a skylight that enables the guest to look up at the stars while soaking in the tub.

Photography is by Lothar Reichel.

  • Zeeman

    Why does every house in Europe look like this now?

    • MAMG

      I would say, 50% cultural trend, 50% efficiency. Thicker walls for better energy rating and the barn shape is pretty efficient for timber frame construction.

    • Chris MacDonald

      HAH! I wish. I have never seen any stuff like this other than in magazines and on here. Though that could be because I live in the Cotswolds where everything has to be made of stone.

  • Pachoo Ricky

    Floor plans are way too small to read anything. Not sure I cared for the tub placement and I have no idea where the toilet and bath sink are. How does one easily clean the chimney?