The Sustainable Refuge in the Sky

Not only is it a stunning design, the Refuge du Gouter building is also low-carbon, and sustainable.

At 12,582 feet above sea level, the air is thin. Six months out of the year, when winds can reach 300 km/h, the weather conditions are so severe they are largely inhospitable to humans. But this is precisely where—along the sheer edge of a cliff in the French Alps—architects have just completed the beautiful Refuge du Gouter. Serving as a kind of hotel in the sky for alpinists, this egg-shape structure sleeps 120 people and acts as a refuge for climbers who scale the popular Mont Blanc.

Built four stories high out of light and resistant wood, with a stainless steel exterior, the structure took five years to complete. It is a stunning design, and with its silver facade reflecting off the snow, the building is also low-carbon and environmentally friendly. Melted ice is used for water in toilets and showers, solar paneling and wind turbines are employed for power, and special care was taken while building to ensure minimal carbon footprint. Sounds great, right? Now your only challenge is getting there….

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Images via Groupe H