New Monte Rosa Hut

Holcim Awards Bronzo 2008 Zermatt / Switzerland / 2009

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6 Love 3,194 Visits Published

Monte Rosa Hütte


The striking factor about the Swiss Alpine Club’s (SAC) new Monte Rosa hut is its autonomy in the heart of a sensitive landscape, an extreme climatic region far from comfortable civilized supply networks, in “splendid isolation” between seemingly untamed nature and highly urban culture. This applies to the production, the building site logistics, the autarkic (self-suffi cient) infrastructure and the operation of the hut. The project is based on a fi ve-storey, segmentshaped wooden lathe building method. The computer-aided mechanical production process makes it possible to use traditional construction methods such as half-timber building with its geometrically complex wood junctions.

The result is a wide range of possibilities for the use of timber. The concept of the highly insulated façade is the result of a mixture of energy saving and energy production. The
facet-like, metallic skin is studded with photovoltaic panels that supply the building with the necessary operational energy. A spiral-shaped glass band that follows the sun and conducts passive energy into the dining room and peripherally ascending cascade staircase is wound around the whole building and presents the guest with an impressive landscape panorama.

Stage I: teaching. The Studio Monte Rosa was established at the Department of Architecture within the framework of the ETH Zurich’s 150th Anniversary for the planning and execution of the new Monte Rosa hut. Students were formed into changing design teams over a period of four semesters. The project classes comprised the planning from the conception to the provisional building project. Particular importance was attached to interdisciplinary collaboration with specialists and expert planners. The didactic concept was based on the creation of an artifi cial emergency situation, and the result aimed at an autarkic island solution. Following a two-year evolutionary design process, a wellknown jury recommended this incisive project for implementation. Stage II: research. In a second stage, various chairs of the Department of Architecture and other involved departments of the ETH Zurich were formed into a research group for the research and development project. The challenge was to include knowledge of the latest technology and research in construction in the project new Monte Rosa hut and to consolidate this knowledge. All the results of the research and development project are oriented toward the multifaceted aspects of sustainability and are intended to be suitable for use in other projects as well. Stage III: realization. Commencement of work on the new Monte Rosa hut site planned for the early summer of 2008, and the inauguration for the summer of 2009. Project Manager: Prof Meinrad K Eberle, ETH Zurich Client: Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) Quantum change and transferability • Innovative fi ve-storey timber construction with computeraided prefabricated elements • Energy-effi cient and autarkic (self-suffi cient) infrastructure with intelligent energy management in a climatically extreme location; mid-term planning, weather and visitor prognosis to be taken into consideration (“model predictive control”) • Specifi c and locally-oriented logistics for the building site and operation of the hut (air transport, high degree of prefabrication) • In general, interdisciplinary planning strategy with special emphasis on sustainability Ethical standards and social equity • The project is a catalyst for trail-blazing ideas and concepts with a conceptual framework ranging from theory to practice • Sensitization of young generation for important issues relating to the future using the example of architecture (resources, energy fl ow, ecological balance) • High degree of public sensitization to issues of sustainability and energy effi ciency in architecture Ecological quality and energy conservation • Careful use of resources in production and operation, longlasting and ecologically-sustainable materials • Reduction of helicopter fl ights through the choice of lighter construction systems and an optimized logistical concept during operation • 90% energetic autarky through integrated water and material circulation • Energy-conscious and sustainable operation in the hut, as well as longevity of the building • Sustainable tourism concept under consideration of the sensitive landscape • Reduction of operational CO2 emissions by approximately two-thirds per overnight stay compared with the old Monte Rosa hut Economic performance and compatibility • Compact, energetically and volumetrically optimized building with low running costs • Choice of economic production and multifunctional construction systems • Use of long-lasting and ecologically sustainable materials • Innovative tourism and operational concept • Largely fi nanced by patrons and sponsors Contextual and aesthetic impact • Precise, restrained, integration of the building in the sensitive, protected landscape • Typological synthesis of the traditional mountain hut and a modern tourism centre in architectural interplay with innovative structure and typology • Overall and sustainable architectural synthesis of the highly contradictory and extreme conditions of the task

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    Monte Rosa Hütte The striking factor about the Swiss Alpine Club’s (SAC) new Monte Rosa hut is its autonomy in the heart of a sensitive landscape, an extreme climatic region far from comfortable civilized supply networks, in “splendid isolation” between seemingly untamed nature and highly urban culture. This applies to the production, the building site logistics, the autarkic (self-suffi cient) infrastructure and the operation of the...

    Project details
    • Year 2009
    • Work started in 2008
    • Work finished in 2009
    • Client Swiss Alpine Club
    • Status Current works
    • Type Tourist Facilities / Refuges
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