Monte Rosa Hut

The Monte Rosa Hut.

A self-sufficient building in the heart of the Alpine mountain range

Hut awarded Minergie P – Certificate VS-013-P certification. • Primary energy consumption <30 kW/hr/m²

The new Monte Rosa hut is located at an altitude of 2883 metres, near Zermatt (in the canton of Valais in the Swiss Alps). It replaces the previous hut of the same name and can accommodate 120 people. This new building is an architectural masterpiece. It respects the environment and sustainable development and generates 90% of its energy itself using integrated energy and water resource solutions.

This futuristic High Tech building, located at the foot of Monte Rosa, was co-designed by the Zurich Polytechnic School (ETH) and the Swiss Alpine Club. The project received financial backing from a number of very generous donors and sponsors. Many students were also involved in this project, which coincided with ETH Zurich’s 150 birthday. The building dominates the Gorner glacier. It serves as both a refuge for mountaineers and a technical and scientific research laboratory and boasts pioneering ecological status.

The unique architecture of the new Monte Rosa hut resembles a crystal covered with a metal shell and integrated photovoltaic panels decorated with a glass band that spirals down like a pearl necklace. The band represents a specific element and traces the route of the staircase inside the building.

The Monte Rosa embodies the strategy of research in the domain of energy practised at ETH Zurich, which takes the imminent problems associated with climate change and the wasting of natural resources very seriously. Whilst the methodology is based on the three features of Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Electrification, the hut is practically self-sufficient.

Water is produced from melted snow stored in a 200 cubic meter cavern dug 40m above the hut in the rock. The natural slope guarantees the required pressure without the need to install an energy-fuelled pump.

A certified Minergie-P building

Wastewater treated at an internal treatment plant is used, after the settling process, to supply the water sluices.

Electricity is produced by 100 photovoltaic modules integrated into the 122sqm WICTEC 50 (bonded structural glazing appearance) aluminium facade. This production covers 90% of the hut’s electricity requirements. The remaining 10% is generated by 24 high performance solar collectors to provide hot water.

WICTEC 50, bonded structural glazing appearance

  • 50mm mullions and transoms – bonded structural glazing appearance flat cover
  • 30mm rear ventilation between the photovoltaic facade and the insulated roof.
  • Cutting-edge monocrystalline PV modules (16,056Wp nominal efficiency), special dimensions, secure laminated insulating glass, black enamel, 14mm.

The Monte Rosa hut is decorated with a glass band that spirals down like a pearl necklace. A 128sqm aluminium strip of WICTEC 50 HI facade with integrated WICLINE 75 HI windows.


  • WICTEC 50 HI (High Insulation) multidirectional primary aluminium facade with fire protection (PV E30 flame arrestor).
  • 50mm mullions and transoms – 20mm aluminium cover with steel reinforcement for fire protection.
  • Multi-angular management by swivel mullions and gaskets (Wicona patent)
  • HI (High Insulation) cellular foam inserts

Additional fire protection in mullions.

  • Facade Ucw: 1.2 W/m².K with 44mm triple glazing – Ug value: 0.7 W/m².K
  • Sg solar factor: 0.27 to 0.50 depending on direction
  • Fire resistance test of facade strip with triple glazing
  • 30 minutes (E30) flame arrestor – flames pass through after 50 minutes.
  • Tests and PV at EMPA (Federal material testing laboratory) in Dübendorf


  • Integration in the facade of Wicline 75 HI (High Insulation) primary aluminium windows
  • 75mm thermal break fixed frame and 85mm thermal break opening sash
  • Cellular central gasket, HI insulating strip on opening sash.
  • Window Uw: 0.9 W/m².K with 44mm triple glazing – Ug value: 0.5 W/m².K
  • Sg solar factor: 0.27 to 0.50 depending on direction.