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Vierkanthof farmstead from St Ulrich near Steyr (Upper Austria)

Number: 55
Built: 1777
Year of translocation: 1966

The Schwarzmaier farmstead was built in the 18th century and was a working farm until 1966 when it had to be removed to make way for a hydro-electric dam. Although smaller than many of the farmsteads that survive in the Steyr region, it is an excellent example of Upper Austrian vernacular architecture and includes all the characteristic features of the traditional Vierkanthof. The farm is built on a courtyard plan. The four wings are grouped around a central rectangular courtyard and abut at the corners, forming an enclosed space. The wing where the family lived and worked is at the front end and built of stone. There is a central hall from which all the rooms on the ground floor can be accessed. To the right are a traditional kitchen with a raised open hearth and a baking oven, and the living room or parlour, where the family entertained visitors, with a simple stucco ceiling, elaborately painted furniture and a tiled stove. To the left of the hall is a workshop with a cider press where delicious cider was produced in the autumn. The bedrooms and a storage space for storing threshed grain, flour and other farm produce were on the first floor.

The façade is elaborately decorated with sgraffito and a course of ornamental brickwork generally known as ‘Roman brickwork’ or ‘opus spicatum’, with alternating courses of red brick and cobbles which were set askew onto the mortar bed.

The other three wings house the stable and cowhouse, the barn and the cartshed. The stable and cartshed are built of stone. All the stabling bays have barrel or groin-vaulted ceilings. The barn is of timber frame construction. Wooden ladders were integrated into the timber framing which the farmer could ascend when he wanted to pull hay from the stacks that were stored in the barn. The building has a straw thatch roof. The roof is a Sperrhaxendach which is built of intersecting crucks which are tenoned into the bressummers, and collar beams with slightly projecting ends. The purlins rest in the V formed by the intersections and carry the rafters.