Construction of the building was completed in September 2009 and the New Monte Rosa Hut SAC opened to the public in March 2010. 2,883 meters above sea level, the New Monte Rosa Hut is currently the most complex wooden construction in Switzerland. Covered in a shimmering silver aluminum shell and with a photovoltaic system integrated in the southern façade, it generates its own power and is expected to be at least 90% energy self-sufficient (excluding cooking).
Solar collectors, installed adjacent to the structure, generate solar heat which provides warm water and heats the ventilation system’s supply air to control the temperature in the rooms. In the few months of the year where the ice melts, the water is collected and stored in a cavern to provide the guests with flush toilets and four hot showers. A bacteria-based microfiltration system cleans the sewage; the gray water is then reused to flush the toilet and for washing.
Computer remote-controlled from Zurich
Such a high degree of energy self-sufficiency requires the interaction of the individual components and shrewd energy management. Software developed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) operates the technology at the hut. The relevant data from the reservation system, energy storage and the weather station, for instance, is conveyed from the hut to a computer at ETH Zurich. The computer then uses the data to maximize the degree of energy self-efficiency. Any actions subsequently necessary - such as the command to engage the combined heat and power unit if the solar radiation is insufficient to generate enough power - are communicated back to the hut and performed automatically.
Milestone for sustainable building
The corner stone for the building was laid in August 2008 and the foundations were completed before the onset of winter. Thanks to prefabricated elements, which were initially transported by train and then flown to the building site by helicopter and assembled on site, the building was completed in the summer of 2009 after just five months. After the inauguration, the 120-bed hut closed for the winter before reopening for alpinists for summer seasons lasting April to September.
With its combination of outstanding architecture and groundbreaking technology, the project heralds a new chapter in sustainable building. ETH Zurich is looking to use it as an example of how marrying excellent architecture with sustainability and state-of-the-art technology can work. For the SAC - with over 120,000 members, one of the biggest sports unions in Switzerland - the building of the new hut is a milestone in its 145-year hut history.
The New Monte Rosa Hut cost about USD 6.5 million. Apart from the SAC and ETH Zurich, a number of patrons and sponsors including Holcim provided financial and material support to enable to project to be realized.
The "hut of the future" is finished. After six years on the drawing board - two of which as a student project design - and a construction phase spanning two summers, the New Monte Rosa Hut near Zermatt inaugurated in September 2009. As part of the inauguration ceremony of the new Monte Rosa hut, CEO of Holcim Switzerland, Kaspar E A Wenger presented project author Professor Andrea Deplazes with a certificate marking the structure as one of fifteen finalist projects in the 2nd International Holcim Awards competition (2009).
Nicknamed the “Mountain Crystal”, this innovative building generates over 90% of its energy itself (excluding cooking). It opened to hikers and mountain climbers in March 2010 and will continue to serve ETH Zurich as a research object in power and building service engineering.See more
The new Monte Rosa hut, a project of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) that independently supplies its own energy and water needs received the Bronze award. Computer-aided design and computer-integrated manufacturing were used to create the glittering crystal shape of this iconic structure.
A convincing demonstration of state of the art technology, the design is the result of a series of inter-disciplinary studios conducted by the Department of Architecture at the ETH Zurich and led by Andrea Deplazes. The project generates a high degree of public sensitization to issues of sustainability and energy efficiency in architecture.Media release – Showcasing sustainable buildings across Europe »
The new Monte Rosa hut at an altitude of 2,883m above sea level and surrounded by the highest peaks of the Swiss Alps is extremely inspiring not only due to its glittering crystal shape but even more with regard to its convincing demonstration of state of the art technology. On the one hand, all the façade and load-bearing elements as well as the interior partition walls are the results of computer-aided design and computer-integrated manufacturing in a way that material consumption and transport weight are reduced to an absolute minimum. In addition, this innovative production technology facilitates the construction of the various elements and therefore cuts substantially on-site building time.
On the other hand, the technical autonomy of this building is another outstanding highlight. Far away from any public utility network, the Monte Rosa hut relies completely on its own energy production, water collection, and systems for treating solid waste and waste water. As a result the CO2 emission will be less than one third compared to the existing alpine hut, which will be dismantled afterwards. Although this project incurs high construction costs, requires the transport of all construction elements by helicopter, and has limited transferability as an entire project, its convincing achievements in terms of autonomy and use of technology received the commendation of the jury.See more
Beside the Monte Rosa glacier in the Swiss Alps, the Autonomous alpine shelter, Monte Rosa hut has been built by a partnership led by ETH Zurich. The project of the Swiss Alpine Club, to mark the 150th anniversary of the ETH Zürich, was launched in 2003. In splendid isolation, the building operates under extreme climatic conditions, is fully self-sufficient, and demonstrates that sustainable construction is possible anywhere.Download project entry poster (PDF, 1.27 MB) »
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