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Rosa Hut
At the pinnacle of technology and nature, the Monte Rosa Hut sits 2 883 meters high in the Swiss alpine sky between the Gorner, Monte Rosa, and Grenz glaciers near Zermatt. The Monte Rosa Hut was conceived as one of 50 projects undertaken to commemorate ETH Zürich’s 150th anniversary. The structure would serve two important purposes: 1) to provide alpinists and hikers with protection from the elements, as well as a comfortable, clean space to eat, rest, and commune with fellow travelers; and 2) to provide ETH Zürich with valuable research on effective sustainable practices.
The design and construction of the Monte Rosa Hut was realized through constant collaboration among the ETH students, the Swiss architecture firm Bearth & Deplazes Architekten, and the Studio Monte Rosa, a combined group of selected ETH students and Bearth & Deplazes architects. In conjunction with the Studio Monte Rosa, the ETH students handled the concept, design, and research phases for the project per the requirements and budget set by the Swiss Alpine Club while the architecture firm implemented the project. The students were challenged to create a building that could be constructed far from public power and water supply grids, yet provide enough energy and water to serve almost all of its lodgers’ needs while weathering the extreme wind, snow, and earthquakes that plague the area.
The design team used Vectorworks Architect software to create the complex geometry of the Monte Rosa Hut, designing 420 different wall and ceiling elements that were pieced together. The software also provided the basis for calculating project costs according to Swiss standards. Further, it enabled the students to employ a “digital chain” methodology to fine-tune the hut’s components at each step of the project and move their data seamlessly from concept to design, to development, to fabrication, and finally to construction. The end result included precisely-manufactured building elements that reduced the number of building elements by 30% and the weight by 40%.
The Studio Monte Rosa and the ETH students designed everything through the lens of self-sufficiency and sustainability. This goal dovetailed with the Swiss Alpine Club’s mission, which continues to be exceedingly concerned with protecting the Swiss Alps for future generations. A sustainable hut that produces its own energy represents the next generation of technology and eco-friendly practices.
Bearth & Deplazes Architekten
Valentin Bearth - Andrea Deplazes - Daniel Ladner
Founded in 1988, Bearth & Deplazes Architekten is an architecture firm based in Chur, Switzerland that has won numerous awards, including the Balthasar-Neu- mann Prize in 2008. The firm’s work for the Monte Rosa Hut, in conjunction with the ETH Zürich, garnered international attention for its striking, cutting-edge design and 90% self-sufficiency.
Studio Monte Rosa
Prof. Andrea Deplazes
ETH Zürich
Project Management: Marcel Baumgartner, Kai Hellat Construction Management: Hans Zurniwen

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