A Prefab Public Shelter Designed for Slovenian Mountaineers
A design and build challenge by the Harvard University Graduate School of Design for weary climbers and hikers
Janez Martincic, Anze Cokl
Designing for the alpine environment is no easy task. Extreme climatic conditions act as unmovable parameters, limiting everything from materials and overall form to even deciding on the proper site. Which is why this location high up on Slovenia’s Skuta Mountain made for the perfect design challenge for the 2014 class of Harvard Graduate School of Design, run by Rok Oman and Spela Videcnkik of architecture firm OFIS. The prompt was to design an innovative yet practical shelter for regional climbers that would both meet the needs of the harsh alpine climate and its climbers.
The final design was chosen, and pre-fabricated off-site. And a Slovenian Army helicopter was enlisted to help transport and set the shelter deep in the Kamnik Alps. The modular shelter is comprised of three volumes, each with a designated function—dining, social entertainment, and sleeping—and can sleep up to eight mountaineers.
Triple pane glass walls bookend the structure, providing incredible views of the valley below and further mountains above. The exterior material (a thin fiber glass/concrete material) was selected for its ability to weather everything from heavy wind and rain to sun and snow. Light wood on the interior helps keep moods high and spirits warm.
Amazingly enough, the entire transportation and installation process took just a single day to complete.