Bregenzerwald Farmhouse

Traditional Bregenzerwald houses in Schwarzenberg

The Bregenzerwald farmhouse with its distinctive shingled facade

The traditional Bregenzerwald farmhouse is designed for living and working all under one roof: the stables and the customary 2-story living quarters are housed together. The wood-shingled facade is a unique feature in Austria. The scale-shaped shingles bestow the houses with a certain elegance. Another  special architectural feature is the "Schopf", a type of winter garden in front of the south-facing entrance.

The traditional farmhouse, as it is presented in the museum, is a type of longhouse with a galley kitchen. Adjoining the Schopf is a paneled parlor with the "Hergottswinkel" (a corner including a small altar), a cupboard, bench, clock, and large stove made of clay or with a tiled covering. The parlor is next to the kitchen, the only heated room. Following the parlor, you come to the "Gaden". 

The Gaden is often narrow and serves as a bedroom for the parents, grandparents, or children. Behind this extends the galley kitchen, which is still often seen today in homes. Upstairs are two or three bedrooms for children and servants or unmarried cousins. The agricultural tract is built onto the back and has the same basic floor plan and dimensions as the main tract of the house where people live, and the ridgeline is the same height.

It wasn't until 1870 that the paneling of the outer walls of the residential part with round shingles came into fashion. Some home owners allowed a coat of red paint to be put on top of the shingles, which you can see for example at Gasthof Adler in Schwarzenberg. Raw materials used for this coat of color include red minerals, cheese curd, and ox blood. (Source: Schwarzenberger Heimatbuch)


Wooden shingles have a long history. Even at the time of the first settlement in Europe, roofs were sealed with split wooden shingles. At that time, they were fixed in place with slats and stones, because nails did not come about until the industrialization, which also enabled shingles to be attached to walls. A facade consisting of tens of thousands of wooden shingles not only met the highest of aesthetic standards, but it was also hard to beat in terms of durability. Shingle paneling from the beginning of the last century has been preserved to this day. A good shingle requires wood from high mountain regions. Only slow growth ensures long durability. The time during which the tree is cut down is also crucial. The ideal time is winter days in December and January when the sap is not flowing.

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SCHWARZENBERG tourist office
Vorarlberg, Austria
Tel.:  +43 5512 3570
E-mail: info@schwarzenberg.at 

Opening times
Mo, Tue, & Thu: 8:00 to 12:00 & 14:00 to 16:00
Wednesday: closed
Fr: 08:00 to 12:00 & 14:00 to 17:00

Extended opening times during the Schubertiade

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