Helmut Bischof works in Schwarzenberg, Austria. He is a timber shingle artisan since many years, passing on the traditional technique to his sons in the region. Vorarlberg, Austria, is known for its long-lasting shingle facades and traditional timber constructions.
We learnt that after being cut at a certain altitude, the timber is then processed, following 7 steps to be split into multiple shingles. It was fascinating for us to see how locally this resource is harvested, processed and ultimately applied to facades. The fact that local wood is less prone to fungus, given its already adapted nature to climate and circumstance, was only one of the many things Helmut Bischof taught us on this bright and sunny August morning in Schwarzenberg, Austria.
The region is worth a visit, as many old houses are well restored and vernacular techniques can still be observed in various shapes and forms. The beautiful shingle facades have been a large component of the regional architecture. Historically, the farmers made the shingles themselves and applied them to their facades. Today there are only a few craftsmen left, who cut the shingles by hand and have an extensive know-how related to the craft. It was a pleasure to learn from one of them first hand.