bernd riegger architektur builds forest refuge in austrian wilderness
all images courtesy of adolf bereuter




the ‘waldeulen’ (forest owls) is an austrian association that promotes education in natural, outdoor settings as a way to increase children’s’ cognitive and sensory perception, and provide amble opportunities for exercise and exploration in the world’s unrefined environments. their ‘spielraum wald’, is a forest playground that inspires the imagination through playful learning in an ecologically-friendly manner.

display area




of course, the natural world doesn’t always behave in a manner optimal for learning. so, in order to function year round (and in cases of poor weather), it was necessary to equip the spielraum wald with a structure, the ‘forest refuge’. designed by bernd riegger architektur, the small hut provides shelter when needed, and thanks to its construction, storage when wanted.

bernd riegger architektur forest refuge wolfurt austria designboom
‘forest refuge’ 




the small ‘refuge’ appears from the outside as an open shelving unit, which it just so happens to be. anywhere they can find room, children are encouraged to store and exhibit the many things they have found, made, or anything else they would like to have seen.

a large window connects children to the environment even when poor weather keeps them inside




the inside of the ‘forest refuge’ features an enclosed, weather-proof space that can be used as a warming hut, cafeteria, or educational classroom. a large window connects the protected space to the outside world, allowing an always present connection even when the weather turns. ‘forest refuge’ is constructed using solid spruce timber, with an interior of spruce tongue and groove planking. 

bernd riegger architektur forest refuge wolfurt austria designboom
in addition to a classroom, the ‘forest refuge’ has a small covered patio 

shelving façade detail 

bernd riegger architektur forest refuge wolfurt austria designboom

bernd riegger architektur forest refuge wolfurt austria designboom
class room 

forest window 



project info:


project name: forest refuge
architect: bernd riegger architektur
location: wolfurt, austria
project year: 2011
photographs: adolf bereuter
collaborator: statik mader flatz
construction: möbelwerkstatt gasser manfred