Architecture

Hardy micro-cabin provides shelter high in the Slovenian mountains

Hardy micro-cabin provides she...
Bivak II na Jezerih can provide temporary shelter for up to six climbers
Bivak II na Jezerih can provide temporary shelter for up to six climbers
View 15 Images
Bivak II na Jezerih comprises a total floorspace of 9.15 sq m (98 sq ft)
1/15
Bivak II na Jezerih comprises a total floorspace of 9.15 sq m (98 sq ft)
Bivak II na Jezerih was installed to replace an aging wooden mountain shelter built in 1936
2/15
Bivak II na Jezerih was installed to replace an aging wooden mountain shelter built in 1936
Bivak II na Jezerih needed to be air-lifted into place by helicopter by the Slovenian Armed Forces
3/15
Bivak II na Jezerih needed to be air-lifted into place by helicopter by the Slovenian Armed Forces
Bivak II na Jezerih is required to withstand extreme temperatures, heavy snow loads, and wind speeds of 200 km/h (124 mph)
4/15
Bivak II na Jezerih is required to withstand extreme temperatures, heavy snow loads, and wind speeds of 200 km/h (124 mph)
Bivak II na Jezerih was designed by architect Darko Bernik, who had help from local alpine club AO Jesenice, the Slovenian Armed Forces, and alpinist Anže Čokl to install it
5/15
Bivak II na Jezerih was designed by architect Darko Bernik, who had help from local alpine club AO Jesenice, the Slovenian Armed Forces, and alpinist Anže Čokl to install it
Bivak II na Jezerih is made from welded steel and anchored in place with concrete
6/15
Bivak II na Jezerih is made from welded steel and anchored in place with concrete
Bivak II na Jezerih is located high up in the Triglav National Park in Slovenia's Julian Alps
7/15
Bivak II na Jezerih is located high up in the Triglav National Park in Slovenia's Julian Alps
Inside, Bivak II na Jezerih has space for up to six climbers to use it comfortably
8/15
Inside, Bivak II na Jezerih has space for up to six climbers to use it comfortably
Furniture inside Bivak II na Jezerih includes a folding table, a bench, and sleeping area
9/15
Furniture inside Bivak II na Jezerih includes a folding table, a bench, and sleeping area
There are no provisions as such in Bivak II na Jezerih, though a first aid kit and some tools are available
10/15
There are no provisions as such in Bivak II na Jezerih, though a first aid kit and some tools are available
Bivak II na Jezerih can provide temporary shelter for up to six climbers
11/15
Bivak II na Jezerih can provide temporary shelter for up to six climbers
Airlifting Bivak II na Jezerih into place
12/15
Airlifting Bivak II na Jezerih into place
Airlifting Bivak II na Jezerih into place
13/15
Airlifting Bivak II na Jezerih into place
Airlifting Bivak II na Jezerih into place
14/15
Airlifting Bivak II na Jezerih into place
Bivak II na Jezerih is made from welded steel and anchored in place with concrete
15/15
Bivak II na Jezerih is made from welded steel and anchored in place with concrete
View gallery - 15 images

Some 2,118 m (6,948 ft) high up in the Triglav National Park in Slovenia's Julian Alps, an aging wooden mountain shelter built in 1936 was recently decommissioned. Its replacement replicates its predecessor's bell-shaped design, but also adds some much-needed modern upgrades, including a tough aluminum shell and solar power.

The alpine shelter is called Bivak II na Jezerih (or Bivouac II on the Lakes), and comprises a total floorspace of 9.15 sq m (98 sq ft). Weight comes in at roughly 1,300 kg (2,866 lb), which was a concern as it was air-lifted into location via helicopter, piloted by the Slovenian Armed Forces.

The shelter is required to withstand extreme temperatures, heavy snow loads, and wind speeds of 200 km/h (124 mph). In addition, owing to its remote location, it was necessary to ensure it was as maintenance-free as possible.

Its frame is made from welded steel and anchored in place with concrete. Timber and Rockwool insulation provide protection from the cold, and it's clad in aluminum sheeting.

There are no provisions as such in Bivak II na Jezerih, though a first aid kit and some tools are available
There are no provisions as such in Bivak II na Jezerih, though a first aid kit and some tools are available

The interior of the shelter is simple, though looks very welcoming. There's space for up to six climbers to use it comfortably, while available furniture includes a folding table, a bench, and a sleeping area. There's no toilet or running water though, so if nature calls, occupants simply make use of the mountainside.

A few basic emergency supplies are installed in the shelter, including a first aid kit, a lighter, matches, and some other equipment like basic tools to repair crampons, etc.

A small 20 W solar panel is also affixed to the exterior, which in turn is hooked-up to a regulator and two usb ports to provide power for mobile devices. A shovel is stored underneath the shelter outside, in case the entrance gets covered in snow when climbers first arrive.

The shelter was designed by architect Darko Bernik, who very closely followed the original wooden shelter's design by Karel Korenini. He also had help from Anže Čokl, members of the local alpine club AO Jesenice, and others to install it. Some 600 hours of volunteer labor went into the project, and the old shelter was donated to a local mountaineering museum.

Source: Anže Čokl (in Slovenian)

View gallery - 15 images
2 comments
Vin_Aus
I would love to have seen a picture of the old structure that it replaced.
Nik
The insulation thickness looks pretty minimal, and Rockwool is only half as effective as polyurethane foam, for the same thickness, and any water vapour will condense onto the aluminium and drip back int the Rockwool, making it ineffective. So, I guess the occupants wont be removing much of their clothing. I hope the boarding is well seasoned, or it will shrink, and open up gaps. I would have thought that a modern jointless flexible sheet material for the lining would have been better, less labour intensive to install, and rot and bug proof. The location looks extraordinarily exposed. Surely a more sheltered position would have been better? Other than that, I suppose any shelter in a storm is welcome.