Slovenian alpine shelter is not for the faint hearted
Slovenianarchitectural firm OFIS recently teamed up with AKT II engineers anddesign students from Harvard Graduate School of Design to create aninnovative alpine shelter. Located amid the harsh mountaintops ofMount Skuta in Slovenia, the new shelter replaces a rusty 50 year oldbivouac (storm refuge) and provides humble accommodation forup to eight hikers. Perched amid an extreme alpine environment, themodular shelter was broken down into three sections and flown intoits new home by helicopter.
"Theextreme climatic conditions in the mountains introduced a designchallenge for architects, engineers and designers," says OFISarchitects. "Within a context of extreme risk to environmentalforces, it was important to design a building that can withstandextreme weather, radical temperature shifts and rugged terrain."
Takingthese harsh environmental factors into consideration, the new alpineshelter has been built to withstand extreme winds, snow loads andlandslides. The building features three distinctlayers, comprising an outer shell, structural frame and interiorshell. The outer shell is made from fiber reinforced concretecladding, while a steel core makes up the structural frame and the internalshell is made from Larch timber panels. Furthermore, triple-glazedstructural glass was used for the shelter’s large windows, not onlyoffering a safe refuge but a comfortable environment for adventurersto enjoy some quiet time and the extraordinary views.
Inorder to reach its final extreme destination, the shelter was mostly prefabricated off-site and broken down into three separate sections.Each module was then flown in via helicopter andsecurely connected together, before being anchoredto the ground. This was all achieved while having very little impacton the existing site and surrounding landscape.
"Themodules were planned as a series of robust frames, which were thenbraced together on-site, providing a manageable installation and aless invasive foundation," says OFIS. "In order to keep themountain site as undisturbed as possible, the modules were fastenedonto strategically placed pin connections, which also act as thefoundation on the site."
Furthermore,the shelter's three distinct modules help divide the interior spaceinto different living quarters. The first module features theentrance, storage space and a compact food preparation zone. Thesecond module offers an open space for relaxing and socializing,which can also double as an additional sleeping area, while the thirdmodule features a series of wooden built-in bunk beds.
"Thehope is that the bivouac will serve as a shelter for all of theclimbers who need it, and that through their care and attention thebivouac will continue to do so for many years," says OFIS.
TheMountSkuta alpine shelter is available for use by local mountain climbersin the Kamnik Alps, Slovenia. At 8,307ft (2532 m) Mount Skuta is the third highest peak within the KamnikAlps and is famous for the glacier located on its severe north wall.Both the North and North East tracks take hikers to a stunningplateau which features a 1,640 ft (500 m) sheer drop above the glacier.
Be sure to check out the extensive galleryand see just how the OFIS architects got this shelter up to itsdramatic mountain top.