In the Bregenzerwald, an alpine valley in Western Austria, transhumance is still the commonly practised form of farming: Livestock is driven to graze on mountain pastures in the warmer months.
Wirmboden is a Vorsäß at the foot of the steep north face of the valley’s Kanisfluh mountain, owned and managed by a collective of farmers. Almost every Vorsäß has its own little chapel or at least some designated space for the celebration of masses and the traditional consecration of the farmers and their livestock.
For 32 years there was a little chapel at Wirmboden, but in 2012, the chapel and several huts were destroyed by an avalanche. While it was clear from the beginning that the huts would be rebuilt, it was more challenging to find a consensus on the construction of a new chapel by Innauer-Matt Architekten. With the client being a collective of farmers, each with their own, differing opinion, the difficulties were not so much of architectural but rather of interpersonal nature. Finding a solution that would make everyone happy seemed impossible in the beginning.
The simple, basic outline of the new chapel refers to the most original form of sacred buildings and highlights the characteristics of this special place and its use. According to tradition, the walls are made from stones collected around the place and tamped concrete.