Architettura, legno e ambiente. Esperienze dal Vorarlberg

Architecture, timber and environment. Experiences from Vorarlberg

The contemporary architecture of the Austrian Land of Vorarlberg represents a paradigmatic case of sustainable architecture at the international level. It owes its fame, above all, to the massive use of wood in contemporary architectural production. According to Marie-Hélène Contal, in this region, ecology and sustainability, whether environmental, social or economic, do not simply symbolize a vision or a political programme, but are rooted in the inhabitants’ everyday life and rules of behaviour. The regional architectural culture owes its relevance to various social, cultural and economic factors, including the well-established construction timber industry, which plays a crucial role in generating architectural quality and design in the region. The essay deals with several key issues that, on the one hand, have determined the critical fortune of Vorarlberg architecture and, on the other, shows how the social, cultural, environmental and economic components rooted in the Land have reverberated in architectural quality.