The new Monte Rosa lodge project (also referred to as the Monte Rosa Hut) demonstrates that sustainable building is possible even in the middle of a glacial landscape.
The New Monte Rosa Lodge
Together with students, professors, and specialists, ETH Zurich has put together a project for the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) that is finally completed after 6 years.
The building technology for the new Monte Rosa lodge goes in new directions to attain a maximum degree of self-sufficiency and environmental safety in its energy and water use. Contributing factors include ample active and passive use of solar energy, good heat insulation and regeneration from outgoing air, as well as the use of efficient devices.
The new Monte Rosa lodge, which opened last September, 2009, has a building energy self-sufficiency level of over 90%, and will serve as an example of sustainable construction and planning both in Switzerland and worldwide.
above: The New Monte Rosa Hut in splendid isolation between mountain tops (in the background the most famous of all, the 4487 m high Matterhorn) and glaciers (digital visualisation). photo by Stéphanie Marie Couson
Inside, the wood beams and surfaces are actually digitally carved by architects Gramazio & Kohler to give an enhanced faux woodgrain effect.
2890 m above sea level, 5 floors, 18 rooms for guests and mountain guides, 120 beds and 10 reserve beds. 4 toilet systems, 2 washrooms with 14 wash basins and 4 showers, 200,000 litre cavern, 110 m2 photovoltaics, of which 84 m2 on the south face, 60.5 m2 thermal panels. Max. power of photovoltaics: 15.6 kW.
ETH Zurich press release:
– New Monte Rosa Hut SAC opens its doors
The “hut of the future” is finished. After about 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 above Zermatt is finally open for business.
Nicknamed “Mountain Crystal”, the innovative building generates over 90 percent of its energy itself. It is scheduled to start receiving guests normally in March 2010 and will continue to serve ETH Zurich as a research object in power and building service engineering.
above: the silver aluminum shell
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 facade, it generates its own power and is expected to be at least 90 percent energy self-sufficient. Solar collectors installed in the grounds 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 graywater is then reused to flush the toilet and for washing.
above: the North facade under construction
Computer in Zurich operates hut technology
Such a high degree of energy self-sufficiency requires the interaction of the individual components and shrewd energy management. Software developed at ETH Zurich is to operate 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.
Today, representatives of ETH Zurich and the SAC inaugurated the New Monte Rosa Hut together with the general planning team and various patrons and sponsors. Numerous media representatives also took the opportunity to visit the innovative building at the foot of the Dufour Peak overlooking the Matterhorn.
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 will close for the winter before reopening for Alpinists in March 2010; the season lasts until September.
Milestone for sustainable building
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 6.5 million Swiss francs. Apart from the SAC and ETH Zurich, a number of patrons and sponsors also pitched in, without whose support the ambitious project would never have been possible.
In splendid isolation, on the edge of a glacier in pristine wilderness, the hut will be able to host 125 guests in the restaurant and hotel with very little environmental impact. The four floors will be realised in a wooden pre-fabricated structure. The realisation of bio-gas generation for human waste recycling is also being considered.
Projectmanager Marcel Baumgartner, dipl. Architekt ETH
New Monte Rosa Hut Project 2003 – 2009
Construction start 2006 by ETH Zurich and SAC, foundation laid 2008, doors opened 2009
Concept and Design, Prof. Andrea Deplazes, Departement Architektur, ETH Zürich.
The Hut is open and on exhibit to the public from Wednesday, 24. February 2010 to Thursday, 25. March 2010 Mon-Fri 8-21, Sa 8-16, in Haupthalle, Zentrum, ETH Zürich
Further information is available at https://www.neuemonterosahuette.ch/
photos courtesy of photographer Tonatiuh Ambrosetti, unless otherwise noted. all images and information courtesy of the ETH Zurich