Ross Lovegrove’s Solar-Powered Alpine Capsule is a Space-Age Mountain Retreat

by , 04/07/14

ross lovegrove, alpine capsule, solar powered, sustainable building, green architecture, green design, conceptual architecture

Designers like Ross Lovegrove, who think of cars on sticks and solar trees, are constantly pushing the envelope. You may think concepts like these are absolutely off the wall and completely impractical, but at the same time, innovation and crazy ideas can inspire brilliant solutions.

Lovegrove was inspired to design his Alpine Capsule by Moritz Craffonara, a local in the Alpine Dolomites of Italy. Craffonara wanted a bed under the stars and was able to connect with the famous designer to help design it.

The Alpine Capsule is an 8-meter wide structure with a double-glass skin that is covered with a special reflective coating. The coating meant to reflect the structure’s surroundings and blend in with the environment. The capsule is straight out of a sci-fi novel and looks more like a bead of mercury than an alpine retreat, but Lovegrove is by no means traditional. In a CNN video, Lovegrove says, “It’s not as synthetic as you think. It doesn’t really interfere with nature, it just actually reflects and compliments it. You probably won’t even see it.”

ross lovegrove, alpine capsule, solar powered, sustainable building, green architecture, green design, conceptual architecture

As with many of Lovegrove’s designs, he focuses on sustainability and self-sufficiency. The Capsule will be off-grid and powered by a “power plant,” which integrates a vertical axis wind turbine and solar panels. Construction is expected to begin in 2010 at Piz la Ila (Alta Badia, Italy), and the structure will be located at an altitude of 2,100 meters. Rather than building a cabin in the traditional alpine style with wood, Lovegrove’s goal was to create a place where visitors could be safe and warm while still being able to appreciate the amazing landscape surrounding them. “It’s completely transparent from the inside, and at night you can see the stars. That will be a remarkable experience to be warm and cozy and intimate with this vast universe.”

+ Lovegrove Studios

Via Treehugger

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  1. Lilleith Morrison August 21, 2014 at 8:42 am

    It looks and sounds truly amazing. I would have liked to see a picture of the inside. I would love to sleep under the stars every night – can it be made to make roofs?

  2. Caril Ridley January 8, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Wow, finally someone understands. I devised a similar concept in the early seventies with two plexiglass spheres, one inside the other sandwiched and clustered like soap bubbles with a perfect vacuum for absolute solar insulation, the radiant heat reflected outward and an exchanger moderating internal thermal stability, a flat surfaced floor at one-third level with storage beneath offering an unobstructed translucent ergonomic interior reflecting the world outside and rendering it stealth-fully and integrated into all environments; suspended from cliffs, floating on lakes, nestled into mountain-scape\’s and deserts from the glacial basins of the Himalayas to the remote canopies of the upper Amazon, and all manner of esthetic habitat in between. Floated or helicoptered into such most remote places they\’re presence remain impermanent, designated as tent or mobile structures, clustered into small wilderness communities housing enthusiasts with the truest form of environmental-integrity, the appeal offers an image of absolute eco-integration, creating outposts; for meditation, study and the monitoring of natural habitats from the highest peaks to the most remote nature-capes on earth. For forty years I\’ve imagined these structures placed in over sixty-countries and know the immediate draw for a new generation of up-scale tourism and if managed well an inspiration for likeminded environmentalists, architects and esthetics… How can I play a role in creating, distributing and marketing such modular gems, there are glass technologies able to produce these structures in China right now and at a very reasonable price. I\’m in Bali at the moment but would be happy to travel anywhere to help if possible! Caril Ridley

  3. Santa August 4, 2011 at 2:45 am

    Maybe you can build one for yourself … I like it to, very much.

  4. Wolfwalker August 4, 2011 at 2:26 am

    This is awesome, I really would love to have one. Any ideas on production and costs? there are so many places this would work, and to actually see outside and still have privacy inside is amazing.

  5. John E. Fidler December 23, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Now, “THAT” could make a very interesting beach-front home!!! I’ve drawn many structures to withstand wind, but put that on (emergency use only telescoping pedastals, leaving heavier power core on ground) and that could be the ticket.

  6. Waleg November 30, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    I didn’t get it, how can you get inside this capsule? And will it be able to resist bad weather?
    Its really amazing!

  7. greenTmom November 28, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    I love this concept! Even though it may be viewed as wacky by some, innovative ideas often come from wacky concepts….hence, the light bulb. Here at greenearthfriend we are always on the look-out for new Green ideas that will add to the sustainability of our green earth.

  8. tuttles November 27, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    I like it; wish I could have one.

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