Premica Architects transformed the ruins of a former WWI bunker into a remote and off-grid alpine shelter. Set high on the snowy mountaintops of Slovenia’s Triglav National Park, the Bivak na Prehodavcih hut is an elevated gabled structure that provides a cozy, timber-lined rest space for mountaineers. Given the harsh and remote environment, the shelter was prefabricated in a workshop in the valley and then transported and assembled on-site with the help of a helicopter.
The remains of the former WWI bunker serve as a concrete base for the elevated shelter, which operates off-grid and has no running water or electricity apart from a solar panel that powers an outdoor wall light. Building on an existing base minimizes the prefabricated shelter’s impact on the landscape. A tiny outhouse is located 50 meters away. Taking cues from the mountainous landscape, the shelter features a sharply angled asymmetric roof and is clad in high-quality metal Prefa panels that blend the building into the rocky landscape, protect the shelter from wind and snow, and are built to withstand the test of time.
In contrast to the metal exterior, the interior features Storaenso timber construction and cross-laminated wooden panels for a welcoming and cozy appearance that also has the added benefit of a good strength-to-weight ratio for quick installation. The cross-laminated panels were transported to the location by helicopter in 20 equally weighted packages during the construction process. The architects write: “Despite technological simplicity and robustness, the structure brings a touch of modernity and coziness into this alpine wilderness. Bivouacs address the fundamental gap between people’s needs and their attitude to nature through the understanding of the surrounding terrain, which is of key significance in interventions into sensitive wild environments.”