The Qualitätsgemeinschaft Holzbau Vorarlberg is a classic regional value added chain that links forest owners with carpenters and joiners (Source: Holzbau Vorarlberg).
A regional value-added project and prize winner of CIPRA’s Future in the Alps competition in 2005.
The Qualitätsgemeinschaft Holzbau Vorarlberg
is a classic regional value-added chain that links forest owners with carpenters and joiners. The project’s core group is made of Vorarlberg’s sawmill owners, subcontractors from industry and handicrafts as well as a selected group of architects, planners and forestry and timber experts.
The co-operative, established six years ago, obtains its raw material from sustainable timber stands, specifically the silver fir forests of the Grosses Walsertal. The know-how of Vorarlberg’s timber specialists is utilised and enhanced as part of the project. The main idea behind the Quality Community, which consists of no fewer than 82 members, is to promote timber construction at the highest level through joint marketing, further training and lobbying. Lobbying is necessary to convince private and municipal promoters that timber construction does not have to involve Scandinavian or even tropical timber, and that indigenous timber is also of a high standard.
Timber from the Region for Innovative Architecture
The many examples of high-quality modern timber and glass building architecture and of successful rehabilitation projects in the Vorarlberg region speak for themselves. The co-operative has also raised its profile through two successful initiatives: firstly, by awarding the Vorarlberg Prize for Timber Architecture
, which is held every two years and attracts many participants. And secondly, by the Holzbau Zukunft
Project, which consists of an elaborate study and support programme for apprentices in the joinery and carpentry trades. On completing their apprenticeship the young carpenters and joiners then take to the road and travel to Sweden to look at the culture of timber construction there.
A key figure and creative mind behind the Quality Community is Managing Director Matthias Ammann in Feldkirch/A, who, as a leading member of the Vorarlberg Chamber of Commerce maintains crucial contacts with policy makers, industry and environmental groups. The co-operative also includes 45 carpentry workshops, 38 forest owners, sawmills and wood processing businesses. The annual budget of just under €900,000 is financed in part by EU funds, but there are also local sponsors such as the Raiffeisen Bank, the power plants of Vorarlberg, and the Chamber of Commerce.
Architecture Tourism is Booming
The results speak volumes: 60 public buildings have been built using timber construction, eight of them entirely with indigenous silver fir timber. Demand for local construction timber has since doubled, and an increase in felling activities of 60,000 m3
a year means additional receipts of €6.6 m for forestry and sawmill owners and new jobs created at 32 companies. Despite the crisis in the building trade and the increase in mechanisation the number of persons employed in the timber trade has risen from 700 to 900 since 1997. Another side-effect has been the boom in tourism: some 40,000 to 50,000 architecture tourists have travelled to Vorarlberg to see its modern timber designs. And window and ceramic stove manufacturers are now also interested in a co-operation.