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Prix Lignum awarded to Alumnus

The jury of the Swiss timber construction prize ‘Prix Lignum‘ has awarded second prize to the Fenkholz sawmill in Hinterforst for the construction of its new workshop premises.

The architect of the prizewinning project is Michael Fenk, a former student of the University of Liechtenstein.


At Hinterforst in the St. Gallen Rhine valley, a timber building has been created which attracts attention far and wide. This is the new building of the Fenkholz sawmill company. ‘The building embodies a love of working with wood, and testifies to faith in the tradition of massive timber building and wood as a regional material. It shows how this family business is carefully plotting its way into the future – in ecological, economic and architectural terms,’ was the judgment of the jury, who awarded second place in the Prix Lignum competition to the project.

Strong competition

The creation of the architect Michael Fenk, the son of the project developer, who works for the Archraum architects’ office in Altstätten, had to contend with powerful competition. In the eastern regional sector, comprising the Swiss cantons of Appenzell Innerrohden, Appenzell Ausserrohden, Glarus, Graubünden, St. Gallen and Thurgau as well as the Principality of Liechtenstein, the jury had to choose from 88 projects submitted. The young architect designed and realised the Fenkholz new building immediately following the completion of his architectural studies at the University of Liechtenstein. It is all the more cause for satisfaction that his project has already attracted the attention of the professional world. Michael Fenk sees his obtaining the Prix Lignum prize as a considered acknowledgement of the work carried out by the craftsmen and planners. ‘The requirement that wood in its most natural form should be used as a material was at once an opportunity and a limitation. We are highly satisfied with the project overall, and are delighted that the jury of the Swiss timber construction prize Prix Lignum shares our view.’