In just a few short weeks, mountain climbers from across the world will return to Europe's highest peak in the hopes of conquering the iconic Mont Blanc. Crucial to the success of these climbers is the cyborg-looking Refuge du Goûter, a state-of-the-art building sitting at over 12,500 feet that serves as the last stop before the final climb to the summit. Designed by the Swiss architect firm Group H in collaboration with the French firm Decalaage, the hut hosts 120 people across four levels containing sleeping quarters, gear rooms, a foyer, 'engine' room, communal living areas, kitchen, and a dining room with jaw-dropping views. The completely self-sufficient structure (which bares more than a passing resemblance to R2-D2) was built into the mountain to handle the extreme, high-alpine environment and winds up to 180 mph. The wood was sourced from the French Alps and constructed in the valley before being helicoptered to the peak. Architects also installed over 500 square feet of thermal solar panels at the foot of the building to melt clean water and electricity is generated by over 1,000 square feet of photovoltaic solar panels. But don't think just anyone can stroll up the hill and snag a reservation. The hut is only open from June to the end of September, and limited availability requires an online reservation.
· Le Refuge du Goûter [Official Site]
· Groupe-H [Official Site]
· refuge du gouter [Design Boom]
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