New Monte Rosa hut

Digital design of the complex construction using traditional timber connections

address of building



Schweizer Alpen-Club, SAC Sektion Monte Rosa


ETH Studio Monte Rosa; Bearth & Deplazes Architekten AG, Chur/CH

Structural design

WGG Schnetzer Puskas, Basel; Matterhorn Engineering, Zermatt; Holzbaubüro Reusser GmbH, Winterthur



The exposed location of the site of the New Monte Rosa hut at an altitude of 2,883 metres made extreme demands on the construction, building envelope and servicing of this building. Owing to the restricted period of time when construction is possible (between May and September) and the expense of helicopter transport, the idea of using low-weight wood elements with a high degree of prefabrication seemed a logical one. The mountain hut, which has 120 beds, and the modern restaurant are almost ninety per cent self-sufficient in energy terms. The power is produced by a photovoltaic array, while heat is provided by solar collectors that are anchored in a rock face below the hut. Water is collected in a rock cavern above the hut and waste water is purified in a tiny clarification plant. The remainder of the energy required is supplied by a combined heat and power unit run on rapeseed oil. The form of the building responds to the complex topographical and climatic situation. Using the latest computer programs, the geometry was optimised in a parametric building model with regard to compactness of the volume, passive and active use of solar energy, structure, construction and, not least importantly, the number of beds. Ten internal walls that fan outwards in a star-shaped pattern meet the irregular octagon of the external envelope and together transfer the loads vertically and horizontally. The primary structure consists of prefabricated frame elements that are exposed in the space; the building envelope is insulated with 350 millimetres of mineral fibre and has a ventilated, double standing seam aluminium skin. Almost the entire construction is exposed; in the basement and in the staircase area it is clad with plasterboard panels for reasons of fire safety. The New Monte Rosa hut project explores current digital possibilities, and this exerted a strong influence on the form and was what made the complexity of the construction possible. Here, complex geometries are combined in a new way with machine-produced, but traditional, timber connections.

Schnittzeichnung: Neue Monte Rosa Hütte203 K
Category: Hotel und Gastronomie, Der Einfluß der EDV