Margot Krasojevic's Himalayan snow shelter
Zaha Hadid protegé's latest structure boasts a sci-fi power system to warm the heart of any lost trekker
Though she’s yet to get a project properly off the ground, Margot Krasojevic is fast becoming one of Phaidon.com’s favourite conceptualists, making a seemingly impossible kind of architecture that promises a world beyond the everyday.
She worked under Zaha Hadid, an architect whose work also took some time to be accepted by the mainstream, though only time will tell whether Margot's out-there-architecture might eventually become quite as ubiquitous as Hadid’s is right now. For now though, it’s certainly as breathtaking. Her latest project is for a snow shelter in Nepal’s Annapurna II massif in the Himalayas, which peaks at 8,000m and has many treacherous, user-hostile, slopes. Indeed, the popular hiking route was the scene of a disaster last autumn, sadly with many casualties.
Krasojevic has responded to the tragedy with a potentially life-saving structure. The artificial snow cave hut is an emergency shelter comprising weighted carbon fibre mesh formed into a lozenge shape. “This contoured landscape mimics the surrounding vertiginous precipices and landscapes,” she claims, adding that “the carbon fibre snowscape creates an artificial snow cave which can be burrowed or excavated into and around, enabling climbers to inhabit the structure in a similar way to a snow cave.”
This ‘cave’ takes advantage of snow’s insulating properties, and users would be able to scrape out rooms. By digging down, users would make a space for the coldest air to fall and collect. She says the structure would keep anyone inside relatively comfortable. If the temperature outside drops to -50 centigrade (think Siberian winter) those inside will be kept relatively comfortable at temperatures of 0 centigrade (think UK summer).
Krasojevic envisages coating the carbon fibre mesh in layers of the metalloid Silcium, to “produce an electric current from direct natural light”, which could be used as an energy source. It might sound a little Southland Tales but she assures us it will work, which will come as some comfort to those who might have cause to rely on it one day.
However, rather than just a refuge for hikers when the weather turns against them, the architect suggests that her artificial snow cave could also “be part of the trekking experience”. Certainly, the wilderness lover in us is hoping this one will get built. For the time being though, more inspired and inspiring architecture can be found in the Phaidon Atlas and within the perfectly crafted pages of our architecture books in the store.