In this interview, architect Bernardo Bader talks about the traditional, cosmopolitan character of the Taube and how this can be transferred structurally into the future. He talks about the challenges involved in converting such a historic building and how it will be possible to unite the demands of local and international guests under one roof.
The Posthotel Taube is an institution within Schruns with a longstanding, eventful history. How do you approach the remodeling project of such a traditional building?
The Taube is not only in Schruns, but for the Montafon in general an important house. We were very happy to accept the invitation to think about this house because the topic of gastronomy or building for guests is very dear to me. The approach is usually quite similar for us, even if the topics are always somewhat different. On the one hand, the location plays a very important role – here even more so, due to the very central location of the house. This inevitably has a lot to do with the place and therefore with the people as well. On the other hand, there is a building owner who formulates how he envisions the house, as well as its operation. This combination leads to a lot of demands that need to be juggled in a project like this.
In addition, the new Posthotel Taube should remain a meeting place for the people of Schruns, but also offer discerning vacation guests an inspiring and relaxing stay. How do you deal with this additional requirement?
It is our goal to build a similarly strong, revitalized house that can do just that: That appeals to the locals again with the outside guest garden, the regulars’ table and so on. On the other hand it will appeal to the international guests that have always been a part of the Taubes’ history. The Taube is a very sophisticated house, where very important people have come and gone. That is the beauty of it. A good house, good architecture and good service are in demand from both local and international guests. I think that’s when it works out that there’s room for both.
Which traditions, in the architectural sense, do you feel are particularly worth preserving at the Taube?
The Taube is a building that has undergone several steps in its development since the 18th century. With the inn, for example, or the post office, which was built as a cultivation to the village square. A large portion of the house has to be demolished. Especially the part towards the east with the former hall as well as the parlors and the kitchen cannot be preserved in the same way. Here, the house also needs to be expanded. But the main building and the main façade which faces the Silvretta street, remains mostly intact. The parts that are not preserved will be revitalized back to the way the house once was. The Taube has always been a magnificent building and will be restored to its former strength.
What are the biggest challenges in this project?
The greatest challenge here has been to accommodate the entire range of services, from wellness to rooms to gastronomy, in three building structures in such a way that is compatible with its location: the main building and the two smaller annexes, which are connected underground. This creates a very unique quality that preserves a village scale and permeable outdoor space. This is also what makes this project special – the Taube in not an island! Many hotels are islands, where everything happens in one volume. They draw people in but are unable to work outward. The Taube is a house that works with the village and includes the village life. This is important, because the house has always been able to do so and that gives it an incredibly unique quality. Not only for the hotel guest, but especially for the locals.
You have already built in Schruns, and for this you have intensively studied the area, the Montafon and its history. Which experiences and insights from this were useful for this project?
I am from the Bregenzerwald and therefore know how a valley community works. The Montafon is not so different from the Bregenzerwald. The Bregenzerwald is a bit more lovely in terms of landscape and building culture. Schruns and the Montafon are more strongly characterized by solid construction. Especially in Schruns you can feel the Italian influence when you walk through the town. The tradition of solid construction was very important for the project addressed. The parallel to the Taube lies more in the contribution of craftsmanship. The hotel should live up to the historical model and develop it further. These are the kind of things that you can recognize in the place and that I find very charming. This house stands out of the village square and will continue to be strongly interwoven with the town itself.
How will the Posthotel Taube present itself to the local and international guests in the future?
The future appearance of the Taube was developed in close consultation with the client. It is important to us that Montafon life is depicted again, especially in the parlors and at the regulars’ table. Furthermore, there will be parlors for breakfast and an à la carte restaurant. A bar is being built in the former post hall, which will connect the house with the town but also with the world. The new Taube should reignite the original character: It will remain true to the Montafon heritage while being very sophisticated, very cosmopolitan. This is also a very brave and strong statement from the client because such things are far too few.
What would you like to see in terms of reactions from regulars when the house re-opens in 2023?
I have been a guest in the house several times – and hopefully will be in the future. What I would like is for people to see that it works well. That people can deal well with the premises that have been created and feel comfortable there. Not only the guests, but also the people who work there. That is also very important to the building owners. They are very quality-minded and attach great importance to maintaining the style of the Dove. That people can also appreciate that is what we would like to see.