Escape to a Bio-Passive Vacation Refuge in a Bavarian Nature Park

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By Michele Koh Morollo / Published by Dwell
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Set in a nature park and beech forest in the small Bavarian town of Betzenstein, Germany, is a modern bio-passive vacation house with plenty of quirky details hidden within.

Sited on the northern slope of the edge of town and designed by BOOKING | HÜTTINGER - ARCHITECTURE ARCHITECTURE, the house—named Refugium Betzenstein—consists of two 484-square-foot apartments that can each accommodate two people comfortably.

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Environmentally-friendly, sustainable, and energy-efficient, the house uses solar energy and was built using materials such as native wood and Jurassic limestone found in the surrounding natural environment. 

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Its pure and reduced material palette helps reduce waste, while its construction and furnishing materials were chosen based on factors such as renewability, eco-friendliness, and anti-allergen properties.

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The elongated building has a stretched-out form with a double saddle, dark shingle roof that reflects the architectural traditions of the region. 

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The uniform shale-cladded roof and facade—along with its large, clean-lined bay windows—give the house a modern, monolithic appearance.   

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Each apartment includes a large room with a living lounge, sleeping area, dining table, and kitchenette. They're complete with materials such as parquet, oiled oak, lambskin, and cowhide—all of which help bring a warm earthiness to the spaces.

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The whimsical interiors pay homage to Bavaria’s agricultural heritage with surreal design elements like steps and room dividers covered in grass optics, humorous quotes, birch trunk decor, stools upholstered in cowhide, cushion covers with goat imagery, and even a golden sheep. 

Regufium Betzenstain is available for rent through Urlaubsarchitektur.

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