smart, energy-efficient shelter transforms into shiny beacon on bulgaria’s vitosha mountain

lusio architects wins competition with energy-efficient, smart shelter to be built on bulgaria’s vitosha mountain later this year. the innovative structure is designed to transform into a beacon when weather conditions are bad, with lights and sound that make it extremely easy to find even in the thickest of fogs.


it was crucial that the shelter’s foundations had minimal contact with the ground and that its structure was rigid enough to withstand the harsh weather

the winning entry of the ‘architecture of 2050’ organized by bring.bg, the mountain shelter responds to the competition’s brief for a cutting-edge design in terms of building technology, energy and sustainability, requiring a zero-net energy modular structure, that can be produced in a lab and put in place by a helicopter. in addition, through extended research, the team addresses another critical problem that mountaineers regularly encounter: vandalism. the shelter uses aluminum coating to reflect its surroundings and ‘hide’ itself from unwanted visitors. its extremely lightweight body takes its cues from the airplane industry and sensors for weather conditions and occupancy govern the shelter’s different modes.


smart sensors detect bad weather conditions and light the shelter to make it visible to tourists

the shelter’s floor heating is automatically activated when a person walks inside, and in case threatening human behavior is detected, a signal is immediately sent to the local mountain service and establishes a video connection. he low-positioned windows invite visitors to sit on the warm floor and in the case of a large group, integrated hammocks into the walls can be easily pulled out.


wall with aluminium sheets coating and high- capacity insulation

energy is produced through solar panels and a wind turbine and stored into a high-capacity battery; its use is prioritized only for emergency cases and critical life support. the structure is divided into modules which will be transported by a helicopter and assembled on site, making the design easily scalable and transportable. if the prototype is successful, another one will be commissioned by the bulgarian antarctic institute for their base in antarctica.


the shelter blends perfectly with its surroundings


in good weather conditions the shelter blends with its surroundings in order not to attract negative attention.


shape formation diagram


capacity diagram in order to gain more space, hammocks are pulled out of the shelter’s walls


hammocks diagram


transportation diagram


the shelter consists of 4 modules: module a – Snow protection porch, module b – entrance, module c – middle module, module d – energy module


the shelter has 3 modes of function: ‘find me’ mode lights it and makes it visible in bad conditions; ‘rescue me’ mode starts the floor heating and connects to the rescue service


energy production diagram: 1. wind turbine 2. flexible photo- voltaic film 3. rain water collector and filters

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

edited by: sofia lekka angelopoulou | designboom

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