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Overnight stay in the Swiss Alps. Award-winning design of tourist cabins

11 of July '23
w skrócie
  1. Mateusz Baranowski and Maja Stankowska won the Grand Prize in the Alps cocoons competition
  2. Alps cocoons are compact houses that create a small tourist village
  3. The buildings contain all basic functions and space for storing mountain equipment
  4. The cocoons are designed as spaces for relaxation, allowing tourists to enjoy the mountain landscape
  5. The roofs of the cabins are gabled, covered with vegetation and equipped with photovoltaic panels
  6. For more interesting information, visit the home page of the A&B portal

Mateusz Baranowski and Maja Stankowska, graduates of the Faculty of Architecture at the Wrocław University of Technology, won the Grand Prize in the international competition Alps cocoons, organized by the UNI platform. The task was to design innovative housessleeping pods in the heart of the Swiss Alps. Their proposal is compact facilities that create a small tourist village.

The goal of the competition was to create facilities that would enhance the tourist experience. The organizers expected designs for capsules that would provide comfortable shelter while fitting in with the picturesque location of the Morgenberghorn mountain peak and Lake Thun in the Swiss Bernese Alps.

Budynki są kompaktowe, ale zawierają wszystkie podstawowe funkcje

The buildings are compact, but contain all the essentials

© Mateusz Baranowski, Maja Stankowska

The submitted designs had to be made taking into account the harsh weather conditions, location and available materials used in the mountainous areas. The area of one of the capsules was to be between 25 and 35 square meters. In addition to basic functions, the facility had to include space for storing mountain equipment and pantries.

Projekt domków w Alpach, masterplan i orientacja

Alpine chalets project, masterplan and orientation

© Mateusz Baranowski, Maja Stankowska

award for a project from Poland

The competition was won by a work from Poland—The Alp Cocoons by Mateusz Baranowski and Maja Stankowska. Their goal was to provide tourists with a comfortable and cozy shelter, a place of rest and a peaceful oasis giving the possibility of a longer stay surrounded by the mountain landscape.

Alpine Cocoons was designed as a response to the modern need for a peaceful and regenerative space, in a world full of fast pace and overload of stimuli. People are increasingly seeking solace in natural surroundings, and the mountains provide the perfect oasis for this. The units we designed were placed at the top of the Morgenberghorn mountain overlooking Lake Thun, providing a breathtaking mountain landscape from their windows, the authors say.

The young architects began their design by determining the main view directions they wanted to emphasize in composing the space: to Mount Morgenberghorn (east), Lake Thun (north) and the unique panorama of the Alps (west). They then deployed six units—cocoons, directing them to the designated view axes in such a way that no building obscured the view of the next. In the middle, a semi-private tourist integration zone naturally emerged. Paths leading to each unit, connect the designed village with a nearby mountain hut.

Dwuspadowe dachy porasta lokalna roślinność

The gabled roofs are overgrown with local vegetation

© Mateusz Baranowski, Maja Stankowska

alpine cocoons

The buildings have been designed in a compact way, at the same time containing all the necessary functions—a vestibule, kitchen, bedroom, living room and bathroom, which the authors arranged for the views that can be enjoyed from them. Each property contains a number of hidden storage compartments that can be used as a pantry or a place to store mountain or ski equipment.

: Rozlokowanie domków na działce projektowej Domek, rzut i przekrój

location of the chalets, as well as a projection and cross-section

© Mateusz Baranowski, Maja Stankowska

The architects tried to create a sense of spaciousness by dividing all the structures into three segments, differing in the degree of openness. These are: segment 1closed consisting of a vestibule and bathroom with plenty of storage space,
segment 2semi-open and overhanging, containing a bedroom and a space for reading or relaxing, providing views of the Alpine panorama, segment 3— open with a kitchen and living room equipped with huge windows, inviting the landscape inside. In addition, part of segment 3, including the living room, has been designed below ground level to bring guests closer to their surroundings and take advantage of the thermal properties of the ground to heat the building and reduce heat loss.

Wnętrze części dziennej

interior of the living area

© Mateusz Baranowski, Maja Stankowska

The layout of the various functions is inspired by Alpine folk houses—for example, an entrance with an enclosed vestibule and storage spaces, a kitchen in a central location and a bedroom upstairs. The idea was to create a small village integrated into the terrain in such a way that the buildings blend with the surroundings and form a unity with them, the authors explain.

Domki zaprojektowano tak aby nie przesłaniały widoków Wnętrze domku

The structure was made of prefabricated modules

© Mateusz Baranowski, Maja Stankowska

Green roofs and sheep's wool insulation

The roof of each cocoon is gabled and designed to provide space for photovoltaic panels on the south side and for vegetation on the north side. It is covered with stone slabs, which, due to their irregularity, create small gaps ideal for the growth of self-sustaining local plant species, while visually creating new hills in the area. In addition, the form of the building is kept in a regular rectangular shape—this minimizes the difficulties associated with placing the building on a sloping site and reduces the number of partitions. The authors finished the facades with a composition of stone and wood, and used a natural material in the form of sheep's wool for insulation, which is also a traditional Swiss technique.

The structure of the cottages was made of prefabricated OSB SWISS KRONO MAGNUMBOARD® modules, which allow the rapid assembly of the entire building from individual modules.

A photovoltaic system provides electricity and hot water inside each cocoon, while the green section, thanks to natural biomass, provides cooling, and thus reduces air conditioning costs in summer, as well as reducing heat loss in winter. An additional benefit of the green roof is noise dampening inside the building, and most importantly, improving people's mental health and well-being, the designers argue.

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