We’ve been privy to some pretty splendid alpine structures recently, like Mont Blanc’s amazing Refuge du Goûter by Group-H. That’s been joined by an extraordinary-looking hotel on the side of a dormant volcano in Russia. Called LEAPrus 3912, it perches 4000m above sea level on Mount Elbrus, Europe’s highest peak, near the historic refuge Priut 11, which was never rebuilt after it was burned down in the 1990s.
It’s the work of Italian architects LEAPfactory, whose mission is to “research for design solutions that can solve the problem of infrastructure in the natural environment”. So all four buildings that make up the hotel were prefabricated – two of them as fibreglass tubes - in Italy, and then transported to the glacier by helicopter.
Once mountaineers make it up there, they can choose from 49 beds in dormitories in one of the cylindrical bunkers, while the living area is in a second cylinder, and the restaurant and staff accommodation is in the third one. A fourth block houses the ablutions.
The hotel, which opened in September, was commissioned by The North Caucasus Mountain Club. The Club, which is responsible for developing tourism in its mountain range, sees LEAPrus 3912 as “the first stage in the complete reorganisation of hospitality on Mount Elbrus”, according to the Turin-based architects. Which means we’ll be watching this vast and snowy space. And if you're planning a similarly exciting architectural trip anytime soon make sure you download the Phaidon Architecture Travel Guide App before you go.