This remote alpine retreat calls to mind classic James Bond architecture, complete with a futuristic design, advanced building technology, and killer views of the Matterhorn. Can’t you just see Bond skiing down the glacier in a white ski suit, stealthily approaching his enemy’s headquarters? You could imagine that the top of the roof pulls down to reveal a giant laser, which is used as a tractor beam to smash the moon into Earth as the villain demands
700 million 700 billion dollars from the US Government. Oh wait, sorry, we’ve been having nightmares about the economy. But seriously though, this hut outside of Zermatt in the Swiss Alps is for real. It’s the Swiss Alpine Club’s new Monte Rosa mountaineer’s hut, and it’s 90% energy self-sufficient.
The autonomous alpine shelter, which resides at 2,810 meters above sea level, was designed by the Department of Architecture at the Swiss Federal Technical University in Zurich (ETH). The four-story building is used by mountaineers, from all over the world as a base camp from which to go on expeditions up the mountains and glaciers. The hut can accommodate up to 125 guests in its restaurant and hostel-like guest rooms. Resembling a shimmering ice crystal, Studio Monte Rosa blends in with the surrounding rock and snow and has a minimal environmental impact on the natural reserve around it.
Since the hut is situated at the edge of a glacier and outside of the range of power lines, it was designed to be 90% energy independent and very energy-efficient. The majority of its energy is generated from photovoltaic panels and solar thermal systems, while the rest comes from a cogenerative heat and power system as a backup source. The designers are still considering how to generate bio-gas from human waste in order to make it totally powered from alternative energy and even more self-sufficient.
The retreat was designed by both students and professionals at the ETH in a combined effort to create a modern, efficient building. Interestingly, the structure was pre-fabricated from from wood and digitally optimized to become a state of the art hotel – so James Bond. The hut was recently completed and at the end of September and has received a Holcim Bronze Award for Sustainable Construction.