The Winter Cabin on Mount Kanin, Slovenia

The challenge was to install a real object, a shelter in 1:1 on a remote site and study their response to extreme weather, radical temperature shift patterns, snow of course and a rugged terrain. The harsh conditions of wind, landslides and the terrain required a response of specific architectural forms, structure and concept.

Kanin is a mountain above a small town called Bovec. In collaboration with the Slovenian mountaineer association and PD Bovec, this particular project site was chosen for its 360 degree views over both Slovenia and Italy. It has become a destination for hikers, climbers, and mountain and nature lovers.

The weather conditions are harsh, especially during the winter where snow cover lasts more than half the year. During the winter more than 10m of snow can fall in this area. The cabin settlement and transportation was an extremely challenging job, realised by the Slovene Armed Forces helicopter crew above.

The concept for this project was to create a compact wooden form, with 3 floors, known as resting platforms for an overnight shelter to mountaineers. These platforms hang towards the valley and a large glazed panoramic window (a particular design feature favoured by Nicky in her design projects) offering astonishing views.

A cantilevered overhang, resting part of the cabin, reaches the smallest footprint on the rock. So a rather daunting task to install such a structure. Lead Slovenian architects OFIS Architekti were challenged with a site accessible only by climbing or helicopter, each building module and load was prepared according to the maximum weight and equilibrium limits.

The interior design dictates modesty, subordinate to the function, providing shelter and accommodation for up to nine mountaineers. It’s only decoration is a hunting trophy pair of deer antlers and a climbing wall to hang belongings.

The cabin was fully implemented with donations, and volunteer hours.
 The research for the Cabin was initiated by OFIS arhitekti and CBD structural engineers in collaboration with PZS, PD Bovec, JZS, Permiz d.o.o. and Ortar in Jerman d.o.o. to develop a self-contained wooden shell, which resist extreme conditions on top of the mountain.

Images c/o archdaily / Janez Martincic, Ales Gregoric, OFIC Arhitekti

Nicky’s World March 2017