Environmental Cabin Provides A “Close-Up” with Nature

This beautifully crafted, minimalist cabin can be found amongst the wildness of the Wolfurt region in Austria. Called the House for the Forest Owls, the retreat has been designed by Bernd Riegger, and acts as a bridge between man and nature. The structure was commissioned by Forest Owls, an association that promotes the management of forests and experiential learning.


House for the Forest Owls Cabin by Bernd Riegger

The simple, but elegant structure is a prime example of ecologically/environmentally conscious architecture that aims to encourage an interactive experience, allowing students and scientists to observe the surrounding woodlands with a minimum of disruption the natural habitat.


House for the Forest Owls Cabin by Bernd Riegger

The cabin sits rather quietly among the surrounding vegetation. It’s a simple structure built on a slab foundation. The exterior framing is left open to the elements and (what looks like) a grey slate roof provides a pleasant contrast to the light wood studs. The interior of the retreat is clad (and braced) by what looks to be the same light wood as found on the outside. A vaulted ceiling has been left open and – like the exterior – the rafters are exposed and on display.


House for the Forest Owls Cabin by Bernd Riegger

The external horizontal arrangement wood is intended to act as a series of shelves, providing a storage nook for any of the children’s forest finds.

House for the Forest Owls Cabin by Bernd Riegger

From the architects: “The latitude forest serves as a holistic sensory perception and sensory training, and intense movement experiences in nature. Fairy tale and fantasy stimulating play opportunities through hands-on learning of ecological contexts.”

House for the Forest Owls Cabin by Bernd Riegger

The cabin cost 18,000 Euro ($25,000) to build, and helps to enrich local research, while also providing a non-intrusive method of learning for students.

For more cabins check out this off-grid island getaway by Septembre Architecture, or the EDGE, a modern cabin that combines green technologies and function into a small beautifully designed space. See all cabins.

Via Inhabitat
Photos: Adolf Bereuter

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.

  1. To think of all the starving children and animals, and then 25grand wasted on crap like this. What a wonderful world we live in.

  2. Hmmm this one is a little strange to me. I don’t understand the concept I could see leaving the outside open if they were planning on growing things on the outside. It’s really minimalist and the cost seems to be too high for what there is. It would be boring though if every house looked the same. I’m sure there are people that would like it. For me, I like more of the modern look.

  3. This is an interesting-looking building in a beautiful natural setting, but I don’t get the concept. How is a dwelling with no wall insulation considered to be making a minimal impact on the environment? Heating the building in cooler weather would be unnecessarily polluting and wasteful of energy: not ecologically smart, in my book.

  4. As far as I know the building isn’t heated at all, which would explain the lack of insulation. As it’s used solely for observation / learning, my guess is it’s not necessary to have the building heated because it’s not going to be used for extended periods of time.

  5. This is a stunning structure. I adore the niches that cover the exterior. I imagine troops of children proudly putting there natural collections, strangely shaped stick, and fallen bird nests in the spaces. The sparse interior beautifully offsets the huge picture windows that captures the outside woods in a frame that stills the viewers eyes. What a lovely public project for conservation, and fantastic opportunity taken to create a sculptural and visually interesting space. I would love to see pictures of this building in 5 years. I am curios how the wood exterior will age in the humidity of that big forest… I hope moss and lichen will grow rather that mold….