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Passive house for active athletes

Austria House with backdrop © Austrian Passive House Group (APG)

© Austrian Passive House Group (APG)

16. September 2009

We are not yet really knocking on the door of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. However, the Austria House (Österreich-Haus) - the traditional meeting place for sportsmen and women, journalists and corporate guests - is already on its way to Canada.

The shell of the Austria House for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver is ready. The passive house was built by companies from Tyrol and Vorarlberg; the individual house components were shipped in containers at the end of July. The Austria House will stand in the centre of Whistler, just a three-minute walk from the spot where the medal ceremonies will be held.

The house was conceived by Austrian Passive House Group (in German) to passive-house (ultra low energy) standards. The shell of the two-storey house, along with the outdoor facilities, has been built by timber construction company Sohm Holzbautechnik (in German) . The windows are from Tyrolean firm Optiwin , the entire building technology is by Drexel & Weiss . Treberspurg & Partner (in German) have taken on the role of architects. The Austria House is built as a two-storey timber structure in solid wood with diagonal dowels, with the upper storey as a floating structure. The building has 260 square metres of usable space; in total, 120 cubic metres of Austrian wood habe been processed.

The Austria House will open on 10th February 2010 and will serve as the hub for all Austrian sporting events through to the end of the 10th Olympic Winter Games and the subsequent Paralympic Games (to 21st March 2010).

The construction of the Austria House for the Olympic Games is supposed to serve also as a signal for energy-efficient building to the whole of North America. Therefore the house will not be taken down at the end of the Olympics as was common in the past, but will instead be handed over - in accordance with the sustainability concept - to the Whistler community.