Jochen Specht envelops a 1960s house behind a new facade

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Jochen Specht envelops a 1960s house in a new timber and concrete facade

Architect Jochen Specht has doubled the size of a 1960s house in rural Austria by encasing its stone walls behind a new facade made up of dark timber, concrete and plenty of windows (+ slideshow).

Haus Hohlen by Jochen Specht

Located on a hill above the city of Dornbirn, the original 85-square-metre Haus Hohlen offered residents views of the Rhine Delta and Lake Constance.

However it had become too small for its four inhabitants, so they asked Jochen Specht to carry out substantial extension and reorganisation works to increase the living space.

Haus Hohlen by Jochen Specht

The local architect gutted the original building, removing obsolete fixtures and extensions but preserving the original stone walls, which are now coated in a layer of clean white plaster. He then added a new facade, creating a house within a house.

Haus Hohlen by Jochen Specht

"Given the need to increase the amount of space and renew the facade, the idea came up to construct a new building that envelopes a certain distance around the old house," he said.

Haus Hohlen by Jochen Specht

The span of the pitched roof structure was extended four metres to the front and rear to cover new bedrooms and living spaces, and 1.5 metres on either side to take circulation corridors and stairways outside the footprint of the original plan.

Haus Hohlen by Jochen Specht

The new facade features a concrete base, above which an assortment of different windows are framed by aluminium and timber. Together, these conceal all of the original outer walls.

Haus Hohlen by Jochen Specht

Inside the building, openings made through the white-rendered surfaces of the original stonework merge the existing rooms with the new spaces to create generous living areas.

Haus Hohlen by Jochen Specht

"It was important to keep the old house's structure recognisable within the new – old windows became passageways, an old kitchen window became a pass-through, another window became a niche for a basin," said the architect.

Haus Hohlen by Jochen Specht

A utility room, bathroom and hallway are housed in this central area at ground level, and a kitchen, bathroom and dining room on the upper level.

Haus Hohlen by Jochen Specht

Pale wooden surfaces and joinery in the extension help to further differentiate these spaces from the older sections of the house.

Haus Hohlen by Jochen Specht

"The wooden frame construction is intended as a spatial contrast to the existing solid structure," said the architect. "The windows generate a sophisticated pattern facade which offers both open and more shielded spaces indoors."

Haus Hohlen by Jochen Specht

A new concrete screed was laid across the floors to facilitate underfloor heating and polished to create a homogenous flooring throughout the building.

Haus Hohlen by Jochen Specht

The main entrance to the house is raised above ground level and accessed by a black metal staircase that passes through a cellar in the concrete base of the building. Inside, the steps transition to concrete and then to wood.

Haus Hohlen by Jochen Specht

Bookshelves are located under the wooden staircase and metal mesh inserts overlook the stairwells from the upper floor.

Haus Hohlen by Jochen Specht

Photography is by Adolf Bereuter.

Haus Hohlen by Jochen Specht
Site plan – click for larger image
Haus Hohlen by Jochen Specht
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
Haus Hohlen by Jochen Specht
First floor plan – click for larger image
Haus Hohlen by Jochen Specht
Second floor plan – click for larger image
Haus Hohlen by Jochen Specht
Cross section – click for larger image
Haus Hohlen by Jochen Specht
Long section – click for larger image