With mountain areas seeing far more frequent use for recreation by tourists, climbers and hikers, it is becoming more and more important to consider the dramatic consequences that this may have on its delicate ecosystem. The “Eco-Temporary Refuge” is a building designed for mountainous terrain and is intended to be self-sufficient, flexible and easily removable. Built in the factory and transported by helicopter, its design aims at zero impact on the mountain.
The project will be adaptable to many mountain systems or other difficult-to-access areas, providing shelter and support to adventure seekers and scientists. Able to be installed and removed without heavily impacting the environment, the Eco-Temporary Shelter is a highly flexible structure that will strike a balance between human comfort in extreme situations and minimal impact on one of the most untouched and vulnerable ecosystems on our planet.
Architect: Cimini Architecttura
The ETR is constructed in a factory and transported to the site by helicopter, aiming at as close to zero impact on the environment as possible. Raising the building on pillars that fit the pre-existing condition of the soil limits ground contact and makes it easier for the refuge to be removed and replaced as is necessary. The requirement for this is because the refuge is not desgined to remain on the mountainside year-round; during the harshest winter months it is removed from the mountain for repair and then returned once the weather has settled. It is a revolutionary conceptual approach, in which the human presence aligns and complies with the peculiarities of the natural environment.
The structure is made of laminated panels and prioritizes thermal efficiency, as the refuge is intended to be used in areas with extremely low temperatures.
Designed to accommodate up to six people and offer the comfort necessary to live properly in cold weather, the ETR is equipped with 4 kW solar panels that can power the underfloor heating system, electrical system, appliances and the inbuilt system for melting snow into drinking water. The design accepts that snow will usually cover the refuge; it is incorporated into the thermal insulation strategy and at the same time a portion of this snow is used in the hot water system. In an emergency there is also a reserve of bio-ethanol for basic needs.
The windows are minimized, with larger windows included only on the panoramic side. The low-emission glass helps to regulate the temperature during the day. For when the weather is particularly cold, a thermal curtain can mitigate the windows' lack of insulation, and during the summer the windows are able to open for ventilation.