Whitefox Projects

Architecture is reaching new heights – quite literally!

A recent winner of a competition, inspiring a new addition to the Himalayan trails, has designed a ‘Penthouse: house on top of the world’ which could save countless lives upon construction. This new architectural idea is the product of genius engineering after the appalling earthquake of Nepal which, along with civilian casualties, cost 10 mountain climbers their lives. Due to Everest’s position on the Himalayan fault line, a re-occurrence is almost guaranteed, so this new structure is designed to keep hikers safe, for up to 7 days, while they rest and recuperate before embarking on their perilous journey up the world’s tallest mountain.

The winning design features prefabricated areas —from the window to toilet modules—that can be joined together to create a continuous space. This also allows each area to have separate stability in the wake of any tremors and separate transportation by helicopter. The modules were produced using PVC and are insulated with timber and thick hard foam walls to maintain a warm and comfortable living environment inside, keeping away the harsh conditions of Nepal.

The runners up for the competition also produced some really intriguing designs. Second place was claimed by the ‘Shelter Bag’, designed to be a ‘hybrid between the mountaineering sleeping bag and the tent’. It’s also avalanche resistant and surrounded by an insulated shell protecting the light carbon beams which make up it main structural frame. An additional layer decorated with a Himalayan flag design covers the exterior of the cocoon-like shelter which helps retain heat and continuous ventilation. An ellipse-shaped building took third place, which consisted of a solar panel-topped central service unit and a gabion wall that wrapped around the entire perimeter. The solar-powered building, like its fellow competitors, also featured rainwater collection and a storage area but also held new items such as lightweight ETFE pillows and a fully functioning greenhouse. Like the winner, it can also be assembled and transported by helicopter.

To find out more about these new mountaineering homes, click here.

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