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Rauch House in Austria by Roger Boltshauser with Martin Rauch

The house is an exercise in practising Rauch’s proclamation that he wants to ‘build contemporary forms’

This case study is part of a longer restrospective on Martin Rauch – click here to read the full piece

Designed in close collaboration with the architect Roger Boltshauser, Rauch House overlooks the village of Schlins, Vorarlberg, in Austria. Many technical aspects were without precedent, so involved an ongoing process of experimentation between the collaborators. The house is nestled in the hillside, made from earth excavated from the site on which it stands, and gestures towards the valley with shifting blocks and generous openings.

It is clear that the house is an exercise in practising Rauch’s proclamation that he wants to ‘build contemporary forms’. The rhythm of the exterior is defined by erosion checks – clay bricks entirely handmade by Rauch that serve to slow the flow of water on the surface of the building. The successive bricks surface as horizontal stripes with a crayon-like line that has a softness which surrenders to the character of the rammed-earth walls they sit amid. This spirit is not lost in the interior either, and the haptic qualities of the earth are emphasised in the oval space enclosing the staircase. Moving through the building means ascending through this dramatic vertical tunnel of clay. There is a pleasant balance to the building. Living needs are gently taken care of within the constraints of the rectangular volume.

A clarity and sharpness characterises the form, and the gleaming white-clay and quartz sand lining of the interior spaces produce sleek rooms within which to view the adjacent expansive landscape. The increasing level of refinement at play throughout the building, from silken surfaces, to handmade tiles, to exposed coarse clay, confidently tells the story of transformation that is at the core of the project, and indeed much of Rauch’s oeuvre.

Haus rauch drawings roger boltshauser martin architectural review

Haus rauch drawings roger boltshauser martin architectural review

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This case study is part of a longer restrospective on Martin Rauch – click here to read the full piece