Above the clouds: Alpine bivouac in Aosta valley
Client: Familie Pasqualetti, Familie Gibello, CAI Pontedera
Architect: Roberto Dini, Stefano Girodo (IAM - Politecnico de Torino/ Leap factory)
Location: V9QC+QW Bionaz, Aostatal (IT)
The Mont Morion range, made up of countless jagged peaks and pinnacles varying between 3,000 and 3,500 metres in height in northern Italy, near the Swiss border, where it divides the Ollomont valley from the Bionaz valley. The bivouac was initiated by a group of local mountain guides and originated in the idea of reviving forgotten Alpine routes, one of which leads from the Col du Mont Gelé to Mount Berrio. The bivouac lies on a small plateau at an altitude of 3,290 metres between Punta Gaia and Becca Crevaye, a peak with a characteristic circular dip in the rock.
The base of the bivouac consists of a metal plate fastened by anchors to the rock, and can be removed as required without leaving a trace. In view of the extreme weather conditions of the harsh high Alpine landscape, the architects designed the shelter according to a pre-fabricated construction approach, using composite sandwich panels in wood and steel to achieve a robust and at the same time lightweight structure. This they sub-divided into four parts capable of re-assembly in a single day with the help of a helicopter.
The bivouac is compact and rectangular in shape and has a simple pitched roof. The grey metal cladding on all sides blends in with the colour of the rocky mountain landscape. The exterior projects outward both at the entrance and at the glazed east facade to protect the openings from the weather. A solar panel is used to charge a battery for minimal lighting. Roberto Dini and Stefano Girodo positioned the entrance on one of the long sides in order to divide the interior into a day area and a night area. Spectacular views of the mountains can be had from the panoramic window in front of the dining table; sleeping places for up to eight alpinists are provided at the opposite, closed end.