Rechner Cottage is a rare Australian example of German fachwerk. But just what is fachwerk?
Fachwerk is a method of building construction that has been used around the world for thousands of years. It consists of a wooden frame which is built of load-bearing timbers, cut directly from logs or trees. The spaces between the timbers (called in German Gefach or Fächer), are then filled in with a nonstructural material such as wattle and daub, clay, sticks, stones or bricks. This may then be covered with plaster or limewash. The exterior frame is often left exposed.
Used in many parts of the world, the method was particularly popular in Germany. Even there, the buildings vary enormously from region to region, both in style and carpentry techniques.
If you’d like to see more (once Covid is behind us), there is a famous German tourist route called the “German timber-framed road”. It goes for nearly 3,000 km, and you can see many, many fine examples of fachwerk buildings.
Or you can visit Rechner Cottage in Light Pass, South Australia! This is a rare Australian example of the fachwerk method, used by early German settlers in the region. They used the methods they knew, adapted to utilize the materials they had on hand.
I love the architectural connection between a simple cottage in an Australian paddock and the fine, established buildings in German cities. The history of buildings is a fascinating study that connects us both in time and space.