Gallery: PREFAB FRIDAY: Haus Schnitzer-Bruch


In a splendid modern take on a local tradition, Austrian architecture firm, Maaars Architektur, turned a classic alpine “massive wood block” dwelling into a work of inhabitable prefab art. A concrete foundation holds two massive wood fins with all fixtures and fasteners built-in. This house took just 9 days to construct atop the concrete base.

The house is heated with a wood stove and solar panels, and presumably the materials function as thermal mass for storing and buffering accumulated heat. Walls of windows welcome abundant daylight and open up a sprawling vista of the hills all around.

It’s hard to tell what kind of site the house sits on. It appears to be far from any other structures or homes, which would argue against the sustainability of the location (but very much in favor of its pristine beauty — ever the challenging paradox). The English translation came twice removed from the original Austrian website through the excellent Argentinian site, Noticias Arquitectura. Anyone with translation skills or more knowledge of the project, please chime in.

+ Maaars Architektur

Via NoticiasArquitectura


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  1. tusker November 9, 2008 at 10:51 am

    hi, this is looking verry good, just wondering is it really co2 nutral. there are a lot of people building co2 nutral but in the end theres a lot of days going by that personal is looking and thinking and driving up and down with verry co2 not nutral vehicals.

  2. Helene Schnitzer November 19, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    for futher information have a look at

  3. Andrea Z September 29, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Does anyone know what company made this house? or any good website for modern prefab houses?

  4. Michael L. August 25, 2007 at 10:46 am

    According to the architects, this house is not “far from any other structures or homes” – a “Vierkanthof” (that is a farmhouse, consisting of four adjoining buildings enclosing a central square/rectangular courtyard) is in front of it, downhill.

    The size is 118 sq m, the cost is unknown.

  5. Robert Royster February 18, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    I would lile more information on this house and other homes of this design.
    Please mail more information at the above e-mail address

  6. Beni February 18, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    I have to agree with David. Overall, I like the design and simplicity of the house, however I have the following questions or issues:

    1. How timeless are the chosen materials, will they stand the test of time, or will the house need remodeling, rebuilding after so many years, thus defeating the idea of being sustainable.

    2. What was the purpose of the cantilever? was its just to create an eye candy design. Wouldnt a conventional post support be more sustainable by having less concrete?

  7. David February 18, 2007 at 12:51 am

    Once again another model of modern sustainability as presented in its own National Park-like setting – am I the only reader who finds conflict in these efforts.

  8. dr. miguel stroe February 17, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    How many sq meters is the house. What is the cost and are kits available for other type of environments like semi desert ones.


    Dr. Stroe

  9. Doug :) February 17, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Back in 1939 George Howe designed a double concrete cantilever that stretched out over Somes Sound in Maine in a T shape which this one looks a copy…

  10. Richie February 17, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    A great design, period. Assembly in 9 days is amazing. A true breakthrough. I wish tem much continued success.

  11. Frank T February 17, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    Good day,

    As always i’d like some details on square footage, costs,room layouts etc.

    Some of the prefab houses you have shown run up over $250 sq ft! Hardly affordable for most.

    I’d love to find prefabs that are well designed under $100 a square foot. Obviously costs are relative, and so much depends on local labor costs, real estate values etc. etc. But it would be nice to actually build affordable ,sustainble, energy efficient homes in rural areas at reasonable cost.

    In many rural areas houses over $100K are considered high:)

  12. PaulS. February 17, 2007 at 1:49 am

    If only I could get a prefab that wasn’t just all right angles. Something more like Roger Dean’s house. This Schnitzer-Bruch house is attractive and the cantilever is a really nice touch.

  13. Bob Ellenberg February 17, 2007 at 12:54 am

    Maybe not practical or environmentally sound (don’t really know) but I find the lines to be spectacular.

  14. matguy February 16, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    does “guerrish” mean “tackily warlike?

    i like this design, love the cantilever and glass into the dining area. kitchen fixtures look a bit like a high-school chemlab, but when you consider all the equipment and stuff that ends up out and on counters in a kitchen, having minimalist cabinets, etc. doesn’t seem so cold.

  15. nativepangean February 16, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    this looks like a very sloid form, but a green roof would add more life to it, progression of concrete to wood to plant would draw attention away from the beached look of the wood, groovy look though

  16. mrs. deane February 16, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    The house is in Mühlgraben am Klausenbach in the Austrian province Burgenland. Look it up with the Google maps or something like that to get an impression. Mühlgraben is a very small village with 500 inhabitants near the Hungarian border and a national nature park. The environment is in all likelihood, fabulous.
    I think the rest of your information is copied from the german PDF on the MAAARS website.

  17. cj February 16, 2007 at 9:47 am

    Although its nice on the inside it looks a bit guerrish, like the New York projects or the English city council flats. not visually appealing if you have no clue about what im saying. : )

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