The History of Werkraum Bregenzerwald

The Bregenzerwald is located in the very west of Austria, in the state of Vorarlberg. Close to Lake Constance, a neighbour of Germany, Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein. Mountains, pastures, forests, 22 picturesque villages, 32,000 inhabitants: that is Bregenzerwald at a cursory glance.

The region holds a wealth of surprises for those who trouble to take a closer look at it and its inhabitants, however. Where one might expect to find a typical alpine down-to-earth mentality, new ideas are cheerfully springing up. Age-old knowledge and skills are proving to offer a solid foundation for innovation. It is not a desire for novelty that is inspiring new developments: new objects and approaches created in Bregenzerwald very often meet both high aesthetic and functional standards.

The successful, courageous blend of tradition and modernity is clearly presented by the architecture and craftsmanship. Both disciplines are closely interwoven and are a symbol of that which the locals of the Bregenzerwald are experts in appreciation of art, of beauty, the creation of pleasure, both sophisticated and practical. This interplay is both visible and perceptible in many places.

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Werkraum Bregenzerwald is a craft and trade association established in 1999, uniting craftsmen of different guilds, promoting cooperation and exchange of ideas. Today, it consists of around 100 members representing different crafts and trades – an innovative platform.



Opening Werkraum Depot


Inclusion in the UNESCO Register of Good Practice examples for the conservation of the Intangible Cultural Heritage


Start of the Werkraum Schule Bregenzerwald


Opening Werkraum Haus


Construction Werkraum Haus


Werkraum Bregenzerwald organise for the first time Handwerk+Form


Foundation of the association

The members representing different crafts and trades such as carpentry, cabinet making, metal work, plumbing, electrical engineering, upholstery, construction, clothing, shoemaking, goldsmith and other service sectors. Most workshops are small enterprises with fewer than 10 employees.

As a joint platform, the Werkraum organises permanent and mobile exhibitions, trainee programs to make crafts attractive for young people and public relations.

Since 2013 the Werkraum points the way forward for the culture of craft techniques in a new building – the Werkraum Haus, designed by the famous Swiss architect Peter Zumthor as a showcase and meeting point. Peter Zumthor is an apprenticed cabinet maker himself and his cooperation with the craftspeople of the Bregenzerwald goes back to one of his best-known projects the Kunsthaus Bregenz.


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