a shelter in the glacier

The construction site of the new “bivouac" is located at the Schnalstal glacier in Italy, 3,013 m above sea level, embedded in the impressive high alpine mountain landscape not far off the border of Austria. The architects’ task was to create a safe haven for hikers and adventurers in adverse conditions, as well as a spot to linger and relax in the sun.

The beauty of the unspoiled natural landscape, the rugged terrain and the wild nature, characterize the Schnalstal glacier and the life on and around it since its’ very origins.

The new “bivouac" emerges out of the intention of uniting the constructed and the natural; The building takes advantage of the environment and is formed from the rock of the massif, thus becoming one with it.

Both the facade and the roof surfaces are covered with local rocks. Boulders arranged around the façade camouflage the building, the volume “digs" into the terrain and becomes part of it.

The interior seating arrangements are placed around a central bar with a fireplace, creating the heart of the new “bivouac”. The three seating areas, with their room-high glass windows, gaze out upon the breath-taking views: Hintereis/Weißkugel, Rofental and the Schwarze Wand, three of the most impressive landmarks in the area.

The surrounding nature of the “bivouac" becomes the leitmotif of the design concept both in the outdoor area and in the interior making it a one of a kind experience for visitors.

The entire structure is designed with prefabricated materials to facilitate the building process: the structure is made up of prefabricated reinforced concrete panels, covered in stone on the outside. Prefabricated panels are necessary due to the difficulty of throwing cement on site. Furthermore, the heating system is supported by a geothermal system.

facts & figures

Typology: Ski hut, restaurant

Location: Val Senales, South Tyrol (Italy)

Surface area: 400 m2

Phase: contest



Ötzi Peak 3251m


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