Forest Retreat sits between a rock and a hard place


July 4, 2014

The Forest Retreat, by Czech firm Uhlik Architekti (Photo: Jan Kudej)

The Forest Retreat, by Czech firm Uhlik Architekti (Photo: Jan Kudej)

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Forest-based shelters come in all shapes and sizes, but rarely are they smaller, nor do they take their place amongst their surroundings better, than the aptly-named Forest Retreat by Czech firm Uhlik Architekti. The Central Bohemia-based project serves as a remote bolt hole for its Prague owner.

The Forest Retreat measures just 16 sq m (172 sq ft), and operates completely off-grid, with no lights, electricity, running water, or toilet – so presumably the occupants would be required to make like the proverbial bears and avail themselves of the forest when nature calls.

There is at least a small wood burning stove installed, and the shelter contains two windows which are covered by shutters. The larger of the two shutters is operable by hand winch and opens to create a small porch area.

Owing to its remarkable placement partly atop a boulder, the Forest Retreat slopes upwards considerably inside. There's just one room but Uhlik Architekti made the most of the available space and inserted four large steps which serve as both seating areas and storage. One step can also form a double bed by manipulating the lid using a hinge mechanism.

The Forest Retreat is supported by a joisted framework which was constructed from local timber by local carpenters, and sports charred board cladding. The interior is sparsely finished with OSB boards (Oriented Strand Board: an engineered wood board), and the winch mechanism and water drainage was also created by a local blacksmith.

Source: Uhlik Architekti via Arch Daily

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams

I can't even. Like, if there is a scale from one to even, I can't. I'm literally can't evening.


I think that is really neat. I think it has a lot of potential.

Either those steps are really big or it is smaller than it seems.


The shape and placement are interesting. Just a pinch more interior living practicality would improve it, I think. Or else it's a good starter module for a bedroom, with adjoining and connecting spaces to be added later. I know, it's a purist concept. But so are tents.


I'm not an artist nor do I play one on TV, but this idea just leaves me feeling ignorant because I just don't get it.

I've tried to understand why but again it escapes me.

I think I agree with Daishi.

All I can add is ??????

Dr. Veritas

Off grid, great. No compost toilet, no water collection, no lights or energy production except heat from a wood stove, no way! Not much to recommend this overly glazed wooden box, but better than a tent.

Don Duncan
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