Fichtelberg Mountain Hut - Tellerhäuser / Erzgebirge - Czech Republic
The monolithic concrete building was cast on the remains of a wooden mountain hut. The form and structure of the old are still visible In the interior, and even seem to carry to the outside – creating a feeling that the lodge is not new, but that it has already been here for a long time.
In 1971, a simple wooden hut was built at the foot of Fichtelberg Mountain as a service station and changing room for a ski club. The building was made of prefabricated elements that were commonly used at the time for such shelters along the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains). But since 1996, the hut had been empty for ten years and was in obvious disrepair, until it was purchased by Martin and Sven Fröhlich, the two partners of the Berlin-based AFF Architekten. Although the brothers had grown up in the region, nostalgia played only a minor role in their purchase. More importantly, they were aware that this property lay outside the village limits, where a new building would never have been allowed. On the other hand, the cottage itself was beyond repair.
The architects devised a unique blend of old and new: a new buildings that used the original building as the formwork in order to preserve an imprint of the old within the new. Although little remains from the old building except for this impression, the new hut is, according to building codes, officially an annex. To create the cast, a concrete builder was needed who was willing to collaborate on this experiment. Whether the old parts could withstand the pressure of the concrete was uncertain.
Additionally, the interior should reflect the “comfort of the old cottage” and, in some way, make the concrete “cozy”. In the new hut, which accommodates four to six people, a special intimacy is created - the patina of the original shelter was virtually cast into the concrete. From the outside, the raw, concrete shelter looks as if it could weather the raw mountain climate. Inside, it becomes a mysterious place of memories: that which is absent remains as an abstract relief.
The detailed structure of the wooden slats, the old lattice windows, and the doors are preserved. Through their uniform substance, the new, smooth walls and fixtures do not contrast with the molded parts. The furnishings of the cabin, which still has neither electricity nor running water, consist primarily of recycled parts such as old car seats, steel furnaces, and light switches. The reuse of the old might, in this case, seem at first like a romantic case of form recycling an act of luxurious whimsy. But recycling is what gave the architects the opportunity to construct a new building here at all. Emotionally, the impression of the original building’s form inside links the new building with its place of origin and underlines its function as a shelter.