Gallery: Solar-Powered Mobile Eco Shelter for the Swiss Alps

As demand for recreational facilities in the pristine wilderness grows, so does our footprint. At the same time, the prospect of staying in a mountaintop cabin in the Swiss Alps with views from the top of the world is irresistible. The Eco-Temporary Refuge is one proposed solution that consists of a small cabin that can be helicoptered to the site and set up on embedded pipe piers. Cimini Architettura's solar-powered retreat is designed to be fully self-supporting, and it can be removed with minimum impact to the site.

The simple design has room for six bunks, a bath, a foyer, and living space. One huge window overlooking the breathtaking views can also let in precious solar heat. When the sun goes down, a thermal curtain helps keep the heat in. The cabin is supported by a 4kW solar array mounted on the walls to keep snow from covering it. The array supplies basic electricity for the occupants of course, but the designers also intend to heat the cabin with an under-floor heating system. Details are vague as to how this system works — suffice to say we are guessing it is not electrically heated.

Snow is melted by the solar system to feed into the unit’s water supply, and all appliances are powered by the solar electric system. A supply of bioethanol is available for emergency heating and cooking needs. The system details are sketchy for the proposal, but the intent is clear: low-impact and easily removable buildings can help us to experience the wilderness while maintaining a pristine environment.

Via Architizer


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  1. Jeramy Buckendorf July 9, 2011 at 1:03 am

    Hello! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website? I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had problems with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be fantastic if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  2. Tecrekka April 25, 2011 at 1:30 am

    Nice renderings but “implausible” is very generous and applies to more than just the delivery system. One glaring flaw seems to be the placement of the solar panels on the sides, completely vertical to the ground. This detail aside, if you are trying to lessen the impact of something, it shouldn’t be designed to be delivered by helicopter, one load or several.

  3. KHarrison February 18, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    The remote cabin is an interesting concept. The aesthetic is concise and the plan simple and functional. Unfortunately, for a helicopter to be used it would need to be disassembled into many smaller, very light units and re-assembled in situ. The whole cabin would outweigh the helicopter by at least 2:1, making its transport as depicted in the rendering implausible.

  4. granittezgah February 18, 2011 at 3:04 am

    cabin with an under-floor heating system. Details are vague as to how this system works — suffice to say we are guessing it is not electrically

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