Designed by the Swiss Federal Technical University in Zurich (ETH Zurich), this autonomous alpine shelter is situated 2,810 meters above sea level in the mountains above the town of Zermatt. The building, which opened in 2009, is covered in a silver aluminium shell and has a photovoltaic system integrated in the southern facade to generate its own power and is expected to be at least 90% 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 grey water is then reused to flush the toilet and for washing.


ETH Zurich has developed software to operate the building's technology, with relevant data from the reservation system, energy storage and the weather station used to maximize the degree of energy self-efficiency.

Damien Carr