HomeStory: Rottaler Langhäuser

by Britta Krämer

Hafnerleiten farm in Bad Birnbach, Lower Bavaria is just the place for couples who want to take some time out from the daily grind and enjoy remarkable architecture, wellness and culinary delights surrounded by natural beauty. In addition to the farm’s themed houses designed for shorter stays (architect: studio lot) owners Erwin Rückerl and his wife Anja Horn-Rückerl also wanted to create accommodation more suited to long stays which would meet their guests‘ needs for more space and time. The result was the wonderful Rottaler Langhäuser – the Rottal Valley Longhouses designed by architect Stefan Hanninger of formatelf.

HomeStories is a series of articles on the people and stories behind the URLAUBSARCHITEKTUR properties.

URLAUBSARCHITEKTUR properties are very special places. They bring out the characteristic features of a location and their spatial concepts encapsulate the visions of the people who have designed and built them. With the HomeStories series we want to hand over to architects and critics, hosts and guests, inviting them to give readers a glimpse behind the façades of the URLAUBSARCHITEKTUR properties with personal insights that shed light on the very heart of these unique buildings.

Owners Erwin Rückerl and his wife Anja Horn-Rückerl: “Our baseline was our existing, multi-award-winning themed house concept. Set in the Lower Bavarian countryside, our themed houses share a common architectural idiom, each with its own distinctive finishing touches in keeping with an individual theme.

The basic principle of the concentrated spatial concept is that all the essentials and nothing superfluous are there. Over the years, we became aware of our guests’ need for more space and more time. The former single-room concept of the themed houses had its limitations with rising guest numbers, and in the face of the desire for more room when needed and fixtures and fittings suitable for longer stays. It was time for a new format.

a new format


After what were initially very open-ended and varied approaches, it quickly became clear that the only way forward was to update and further develop the core values of the existing concept. The aim was to distil the essence of the farm, and to sharpen and hone its architectural statement both in terms of concept and final structure. The concept of a “little house for two”, pared down into graphic form in our farm logo, depicts a childhood fantasy and essentially differs from the conventional hotel structure by a unique interior and exterior space, room door numbers being replaced by individual identities.

The farm represents the core value of a changed concept of time experienced in a high-quality setting. The hurly burly of present-day living lapses here into idleness in the most positive sense of the word. Guests to the farm are aware that tranquillity and intimacy take priority here.”

Architect Stefan Hanninger/formatelf: “The main difficulty for us as architects was giving the farm a new architectural format without undermining tried and tested formulae or crossing that fine line towards architectural Disneyland with trendy, ephemeral designs. Moreover, the architectural attractiveness had to be retained, meeting functional spatial requirements resembling more those of a traditional family house without actually turning it into one. Our point of departure was the elementary cottage, working through the gable-roofed house motif in search of pure proportions and graphically overdrawing the concept. After interminable wrestling over dimensions, space and function, sophisticated spatial and functional needs were taken into account by the decision to elongate, while retaining the basic proportions.

design concepts


The design of the longhouses is purist, edgy, sharp and expressive. The proportions are precise and the roofs have an ‘elementary’ 45 degree pitch. Elegantly black, like a weather-beaten old barn, grown up to become part of its surroundings, dark outer skin camouflaged against the dark fringes of the forest. The façade moves, ruffled by the wind, a moving life like the weathered façades of old utility buildings.
Three new houses were built on a gentle slope, fanning out radially via footways, a bit like jetties across a sea of vegetation. Precise cubes, extending from the façade, encapsulate the theme of each individual house and enable life with and within the landscape. Mirrored glass bonds the houses with its natural surroundings, painting landscapes onto the façades.“

final design of the three houses

 Rottal Valley Longhouses

 Rottal Valley Longhouses

 Rottal Valley Longhouses

 Rottal Valley Longhouses

 Rottal Valley Longhouses

 Rottal Valley Longhouses

 Rottal Valley Longhouses

Britta Krämer is tourism consultant and looks after the international community of the UA partners. She lives and works in Italy.


Comments 1

Ulrich S. says:

Wir haben hier ein sehr entspanntes, langes Wochenende verbracht. Das Haus am See war ein perfekter Rückzugsort mit – auch im Detail – stimmiger Architektur und einem sehr aufmerksamen, angenehmen Service. Aus unserer Sicht die perfekte Erholung! Faszinierend fanden wir die architektonische Grundausrichtung der Häuser: jedes Haus eröffnet – je nach Lage und Thema – andere Blickachsen. Trotz der Nähe zueinander fühlt man sich so angenehm abgeschirmt und hat jeweils ein komplett anderes Erlebnis von der umgebenden Landschaft. Kurz: wir kommen gerne wieder!


Write a comment.

* These fields are required for a publication.
Name and comment field will get published.
The email address won't get published.

Currently found: 1 property

Number of guests






Would you like to recommend a holiday home or hotel for our website?

Please enter the website of the property:

Something you'd like to tell us? Send us your comments with this form.


Subscribe to our newsletter

Please enter your email address: