Refuge du Goûter, Saint Gervais Les Bains Building, French Mountain Hotel, France Architecture
Refuge du Goûter, French Alps Hotel
Mountain Building in France – design by Déca-Laage + Groupe-H
3 Jan 2014
This precipitous Alpine building is one of our picks from
Buildings of 2013 : Architecture of the Year
e-architect’s selection of key architectural developments posted on the site in the last year
2 Apr 2013
French Mountain Hotel
Location: Saint Gervais Les Bains, Haute-Savoie, Rhône-Alpes, south-eastern France
Design: Déca-Laage + Groupe-H
French Alps Building
Built at an altitude of 3835m, on 2000m2 of land above a west facing rock spur, subjected to winds of up to 250 km/h and temperatures of down to – 40°C, the architectural concept was conditioned by the harsh environment. This situation meant that we had to adapt to such forces, which determined the shape and orientation of the refuge.
To withstand the winds, we studied fluids mechanics and the aerodynamic properties of the exterior structure. Our research on convex structures lead us to decide on an ellipse form, which, once projected into three dimensions, became a spheroid. The principal axis of the ellipse was placed facing the prevailing winds in order to deposit the snow in a snow melter at the back of the refuge.
To transpose this form into a structure, the elliptique shape was transformed into seg-ments of a circle, divided into equal sections of 128 trapezoidal or rectangular facets. This smooth and simple shape was proportioned using the most harmonious lines posible, with a plan and the long profile corresponding to the golden triangle and the short profile to a square. The aesthetic dimension therefore equals the ingenuity of the building.
The global wooden structure represents a volume of 400m3. The 720m2 of hollowcore wood panels lie on a grill of beams fixed to 69 piles. The assembly is carried out with resin fixings. The exterior facets are insulated with wood composite panels and covered in stainless steel. Sized for ease of transport, the prefabricated modules are all assembled on site.
Thermal energy comes from solar water heaters and the electricity from photovoltaic panels. The air treatment and heating are provided by a dual flow extraction system and heat exchangers. Designed to accommodate 120 people, the refuge functions in complete autonomy.
Refuge du Goûter France images / information from Déca-Laage + Groupe-H
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