Fig: 1 - Diversity of our topography from mountains to rivers
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
Travelling is as old as history dates back to our civilization. Initially, we settled our base at the river banks, and then after learning to harbor a safe refuge we began our next and one of the most essential aspects; wanderlust.
Adapting and innovating our ways through the myriad of existential problems we as humans found our ways into different geographical spaces by learning to travel. This process brought about a drastic transition in our perception of survival and adventure. Traveling is one of the most sought-after things that not only interest almost everyone worldwide but is also a shared dream carried by us. The destinations that we want to visit might vary but the love for the travel rather than the destination is common.
Sometimes it’s the vast valleys or the unstoppable rivers, the dense forests, or sometimes the tall mountains that inspire and allure us.
Fig: 2 - The alps and lakes for a valley which is used for the habitation of human settlements in the country.
ON THE EDGE
Among many destinations, one major location that inspires us to travel is the stunning swiss alps. The Alps are one of the most scenic locations that hold one of the most interesting and beautiful sites. Switzerland has a very rich flora and fauna filled with one of the most beautiful landscapes. At least about 80 percent of the country is mainly covered with mountains which offers a very versatile and varied context for travelers.
While there are other countries with taller mountains and bigger glaciers, what makes the alps unique is its vast diversity in the small area of Switzerland. A train down the town will present you with one of the most exotic meadows, the icy mountains, and the sunny villages that make you believe in your utopian dream.
In addition, to experience this stunning scenery there are many transportations available starting from cable cars, post cars, and boats. This makes it one of the major attractions for hikers, travelers, and visitors around the world.
Fig: 4 - View from the camps and pods when situated in the valleys of the alps.
In locations like these everyone’s priority is to visit and experience the scenic place through exploration, adventure, and a peaceful mindset. Thus, the need for architectural interventions that help amplify and slow down the wonderful experience is needed. As time passes, providing such interventions at every spot becomes a challenge.
As the tourists aim for an intimate visit to the alps they also expect some comfortable amenities. What can be done to give them both exploration and comfort?
Brief: This challenge aims to explore and innovate the concept of staying pods which are to be built in the heart of the alps. Which will enrich and revive the tourist experience and expand their horizon. These pods are expected to act as a comfortable refuge to the hikers and travelers by providing them with cozy pods in iconically scenic locations that bring them one step closer to their natural abode.
Understanding the context: Understand the basic requirements needed for a fully functioning pod in the Swiss alps context. Create and conceptualize a kind of Architecture that merges and becomes an inherent part of the alps.
Interior scope and limitations: Study and understand the extreme weather conditions of the alps and their variations across different seasons. The minimum temperature, ancillary requirements that are necessary for the functioning and practicality of the pods are to be considered and proposed by the participants.
Material: Switzerland’s diverse context offers a variety of material palette options to choose from. Analyzing the pod location and its material requirements for both aesthetic and functional use is to be thought of.
Construction techniques: Construction techniques that are specially used and practiced in the mountainous regions especially in the swiss mountains are to be studied and understood to create a sustainable and practically buildable design.
The following objectives can be a point of beginning to conceive this design. Participants can assume their contexts and the user group.
The area of the pod can range between 25-35 sqm. The designed pod is to be replicated on the site provided.
Location: Morgenberghorn, Bernese Alps
Site Area: 1471 sqm
Height limit: Ground floor + One
FAR (Floor Area Ratio): 0.5
Coordinates: 46°37'31.9"N 7°46'55.1"E
The Morgenberghorn is a mountain of the Bernese Alps, overlooking Lake Thun in the Bernese Oberland. It lies at the northern end of the chain between the valleys of Frutigen and Lauterbrunnen, north of Schwalmere. One of the most scenic and iconic mountains in the scenic ranges. The Morgenberghorn Hike is a challenging trail with 1300m of incline but the panorama point has the best view in the region on Lake Thun.
This site location offers the best of both worlds. This includes the lake view and also the luxury of staying in the ranges of Morgenberghorn. This location offers both challenges and opportunities as it is situated in a strategic location where it’s not too steep to stay but offers the comfort of the alps and also the view of the lake from the same place.
Luxury/comfort spaces: Sleeping areas that are comfortable and suitable to the external climate.
Observation space/amenities: To observe and experience the space from the pod.
Basic ancillary facilities: Pantry requirements, camping gear, and other basic functional spaces and additional spaces are to be added by the participants themselves.