School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

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Structural Sustainability and Development of Alpine Architecture

A pilot project charts the historical development of alpine huts and identifies the trends in design and approach from the 1920s to the present day to understand sustainability through changing attitudes to comfort

Conducted by Dr Neil Burford, Dr Christos Kakalis and Ivan Marquez-Munoz, this study focuses on two innovative examples of sustainable alpine huts in Switzerland; Cabane de Velan and the new Monte Rosa Hut. The objective of the research is to understand how design and technology can contribute to sustainable construction, and questions how the motivation to be sustainable can affect the perception of levels of comfort.

Holidaymakers were encouraged to complete questionnaires which have been specifically designed to illicit responses centred on their individual perceptions of comfort. The questionnaire used mixed methods such as narrative, timetabling and drawing. To encourage visitors to complete the questionnaires, original handmade prints were created as a take away token. The prints were in the design of a postcard and depicted nine sustainable high-level alpine huts which are all along the classic walking/ski-mountaineering Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route.

As part of this research project, a prototype of an architectural installation has been created. Models, drawing and mapping are used to depict relationships between a hut form and its surrounding landscape as well as charting human and natural infrastructures. 

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Terrain model - Monte Rosa Hut

A post shared by Alpine Hut Project (@alpine_hut_project) on Jul 23, 2018 at 3:46am PDT

Example of a completed questionnaire

published on: 26 November 2018