the black body mountain shelter frames alpine views in dormillouse, italy
 

the black body mountain shelter frames alpine views in dormillouse, italy

positioned just a few meters from the summit of dormillouse on the french-italian border, architects michele versaci and andrea cassi have designed ‘the black body mountain shelter’. formed to provide a safe refuge for hikers whilst creating an ‘optical device’, the small timber construction is nestled into the alpine landscape to frame views of the impressive surroundings at 2908 meters above sea level.

the black body mountain shelter frames alpine views in dormillouse, france designboom

all images © andrea cassi and michele versaci

 

 

the design by versaci and cassi focuses on three main objectives. firstly, rather than impose on the natural landscape, the architects intended to form a discreet intervention that complements the incredible scenery like an ‘inhabited land art work’. secondly, the cabin is designed to frame key points of view from its elevated position, allowing the rolling peaks of the alps to take center stage. finally, and most importantly, the black body mountain shelter is conceived as a safe place for mountaineers, providing a refuge from extreme weather conditions.  

the black body mountain shelter frames alpine views in dormillouse, france designboom

 

 

the volume of the shelter is defined by a symmetrical hexagonal profile that has been designed to create an ‘optical device’, appearing almost like two telescopes fused together. on each of the short elevations there is a large, unobstructed window, one looking northwards to val thuras and the other to ecrins massif in the south. inside, the interior is wrapped in warm swiss pine surfaces that welcome hikers into a cozy nest. a table occupies the center of the space, which is bookended by three wide steps on either side, leading to the picture-frame windows. at night these steps function as beds, providing a safe resting place in the heart of the mountains.

the black body mountain shelter frames alpine views in dormillouse, france designboom

 

 

in addition to the telescope concept, the design by versaci and cassi makes reference to the idea of a black body in physics. similarly to how a black prism absorbs energy and radiates it to the surrounding environment, the black opaque metal cladding of the shelter absorbs heat from the sun and guarantees high thermal performance. the metal shell has also been specified to provide the necessary structural stability during heavy snow that will fall in the high altitude location.

the black body mountain shelter frames alpine views in dormillouse, france designboom

 

 

reversibility and environmental sustainability are also key points of the project. the on-site construction of the cabin took just a few days thanks to a system of timber prefabrication. the modules were built and pre-assembled in the workshop then transported by helicopter and reassembled on the mountain top. in addition to this, the small intervention has been designed to be low-impact on the ground as it rests on just 1/4 of its lower surface. 

the black body mountain shelter frames alpine views in dormillouse, france designboom

 

 

also referred to as the matteo corradini bivouac, the project was conceived by paolo corradini and his family, in loving memory of their son, matteo, who was a passionate mountaineer. realized by michele versaci and andrea cassi as a safe, wooden nest, the emergency shelter can accommodate the many ski mountaineers and hikers who reach the popular alpine summit. 

the black body mountain shelter frames alpine views in dormillouse, france designboom

the black body mountain shelter frames alpine views in dormillouse, france designboom

the black body mountain shelter frames alpine views in dormillouse, france designboom

the black body mountain shelter frames alpine views in dormillouse, france designboom

the black body mountain shelter frames alpine views in dormillouse, france designboom

the black body mountain shelter frames alpine views in dormillouse, france designboom

the black body mountain shelter frames alpine views in dormillouse, france designboom

the black body mountain shelter frames alpine views in dormillouse, france designboom

the black body mountain shelter frames alpine views in dormillouse, france designboom

 

 

project info:

 

project name: black body mountain shelter / the matteo corradini bivouac

location: dormillouse summit, italy

design by: andrea cassi and michele versaci, with lorenza bianco (cladding) luca giacosa (structure), antonio accotto (geological report), fabrizio carosso and luca borello (interior wooden structures)

wooden structure, casing and assembly: abitare. strutture e case in legno (massimo carosso, fabrizio carosso, luca borello, alessia badellino, marco ansalone, cristian alexandru mihai, viorel honceriu, iosif ionel mutescu, iacob alin stiorobelea, andrea soggia, marco soggia, ciprian marian chirila, tibius hapaianu, alessandro lunardi, andrea garizio, alessandro sassi, pier giorgio lunardi, bruno simone)

foundations: edilg (giorgio pourpour), perfor (fortunato treve), begni, ricardo ruiz

transport: E+S air srl (andrea pellissier, alessandro pellissier, armando barell)

photography: michele versaci and andrea cassi

 

the construction of the bivouac was possible thanks to paolo and paola corradini, with daughters chiara and giulia, in loving memory of matteo.

thanks are also due to the municipality of cesana torinese.

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