Seen from the front, the gorgeous Alpine Shelter Skuta looks like any number of stylish modernist cabins or popular tiny houses. It’s not until you consider its location that you understand its greatest strength: Perched high on a mountain peak in Slovenia’s Alps, the deceptively tough shelter was built to withstand harsh winds, snowfall, and treacherous landslides.
Designed by the Ljubljana-based architecture firm OFIS in collaboration with students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the remote glass and cement structure is meant to provide shelter for mountain climbers scaling Stuka mountain, the third tallest peak in the Kamnik Alps. It consists of three separate modules–an entrance for storage and food preparation, a space for socializing, and a sleeping area–each of which was airlifted into position by the Slovenian army and installed in a day.
“In order to keep the mountain site as undisturbed as possible, the modules are fastened onto strategically placed pin connections, which also act as the foundation on the site,” OFIS’s Špela Videčnik writes in an email. The hut’s pitched roof is meant to resemble a tent or temporary lean-to, “a symbol of refuge,” says Videčnik. The triple-pane glass windows offering epic panoramic views of the white rocky mountain peaks and valley below can also hold up against the projected strong wind and snow loads.