Rotate Mountaineer Alpine Shelter

DATE:  Fall 2014

SCHOOL: Harvard Graduate School of Design; Cambridge, Massachusetts

PROFESSOR: Spela Videcnik and Rok Oman (Principals, OFIS arhitekti)

PROJECT LOCATION: Triglav, Slovenia

PROGRAM:  8-person shelter


Rotate explores a prototypical design of the ‘smallest-possible habitable unit’, a bivak programmed for mountaineers and hikers seeking shelter in remote locations and high altitudes. The project aims to create a multi-functional and easily changeable space that is accessible during winter months, is self-sufficient, and independent from external energy sources. The prototype is inspired by the farmer’s plow and its rotational mechanism. The interior space is organized through a module that rotates to become a seat, bed, storage, and counter space. The skin is fabricated from a series of ribs that mold to the rotation modules in cross section and are covered in translucent fiberglass textile coated in Teflon. The facade and modules are held by the vierendeel truss structure, which allows the prototype to cantilever from the mountain.

A vierendeel cantilever structure carries the ribbed facade and furniture elements of the shelter. These pipes are piled into the mountain. The cantilever allows for snow build up in extreme weather conditions while keeping the entrance and view open for the mountaineers. Translucent fiberglass textile coated in Teflon covers the ribbed facade, shielding the shelter from rain and snow while allowing sunlight to enter the shelter. The aluminum ribbed facade shapes around the rotating furniture modules in cross section creating porousness throughout the shelter. The soft curves of the form adapt to the mountain topography. Wooden filler ribs protect against lateral wind loads and vertical loads on the feet, while giving the interior space a warmer feeling.

Experiments Wall Exhibition designed and fabricated by Myrna Ayoub and Elizabeth Wu 

Experiments Wall Exhibition designed and fabricated by Myrna Ayoub and Elizabeth Wu 


Structural elements and fabrication techniques

Interior Configurations