Living full-time in a tiny house isn’t for everyone, but there are lots of opportunities to see for yourself what it feels like to stay in one overnight. Once rare, tiny house rentals are available just about everywhere now. But would you have imagined that you can hike to one hidden all the way up in the Italian Alps?
Architects Andrea Cassi and Michele Versace built a modern black mountain shelter with a prefabricated metal exterior and all-pine interior, designed to shelter hikers in an extreme landscape. Because its exterior is black, it will stand out even in high snow levels in the winter, so it’s easy to find. The color also helps heat up the interior.
The designers chose pine because it’s easy to work with, affordable, readily available and infuses the interior with a fresh, pleasant scent. It’s also the material traditionally used in the Alpine tradition to make cradles and bedroom surfaces. The inside is simple and minimalist, featuring stepped surfaces on either side of a table that can be used as seats or beds.
“In physics a black body is an ideal object that totally absorbs the energy, re-irradiating it in the surrounding environment. Leaning on a small pass beneath the last slopes near the summit, Bivacco Matteo Corradini is a dark prism with an hexagonal profile, nestled in the alpine landscape. A metal shell capable of protecting it from high altitude extreme weather conditions and absorbing the maximum solar radiation. Materials and volumes have been designed in relation to the landscape: steep crests of dark rock from which grassy slopes and rocks develop, completely covered with snow in the winter season. A discreet interference that, like an inhabited land art work, defines unexpected points of view in the natural landscape.”
“The interior of the bivouac is composed of a system of wooden steps that develop on the two short sides of the building, around a central table. The six wooden steps, three on each side, become beds for the night while, during the day, they define a system of seats overhanging the slope of the mountain. A cosy, welcoming, and convivial nest: a meeting place at 3000 meters above sea level, for the community of mountaineers.”
Designed as modules that can be easily assembled on site, these wooden elements were built and partially pre-assembled in the workshop, then transported by helicopter and reassembled on the mountain. The shelter, known as the Matteo Corroding bivouac, is located a few meters from the Dormillouse summit in the upper Valle di Susa. It’s a popular destination for ski mountaineering and offers incredible views year-round.