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Safe and spectacular | Shelters in the Czech mountains

A safe and calm place suitable for resting comes very much in handy for both worn out wanderers and hikers looking to escape the weather in the Krkonoše lying on the Czech-Polish border. Czech architecture students designed functional and modern mountain huts where even we would spend a night happily if we were caught by a snowstorm during our hike.

The Krkonoše or Giant Mountain, which is thehighest branch of the Sudetes, lies on the border of the Czech Republic and Poland: a place where heavy rains and windstorms are frequent visitors. In the course of the program implemented as part of the collaboration between the Czech Technical University (ČVUT) and Krkonoše National Park, the students of the university designed cabins that can offer safe shelter in a sudden storm.

In the course of the 6-month university project, the students had to design and implement structures with a maximum 16 sqm floorspace that are functional and fit into their surroundings. The existing shelters of the mountain could already use some refreshment, and with the work of the students, the mountain gained six new, modern shelters at the end of the program. The houses are open to anyone who would like to rest for a bit, is looking for a shelter from the weather and needs a place where they can spend a night in safety.


The house situated near the Balvanový Waterfalls was inspired by the forms of the stones found in the mountains and other natural qualities of the environment—it does indeed look like a strong, protective rock. The irregular, massive structure is clad in metal on the outside, while the warm and cozy atmosphere of the wooden interior welcomes visitors inside.


The ATÜLN evokes the traditional shapes of the region’s old shelters. A small steel staircase leads up to the spruce wood structure standing on legs, offering a marvelous view over the valley.


Both the shelter’s name and structure evokes the famous game: the box-like wooden parts are easy to manufacture, transport and assemble, and can be replaced easily if necessary. The wooden structure is clad in corrugated translucent fiberglass panels to protect it from harsh weather conditions.


The small wooden structure evoking the shape of a tent stands near the confluence of the Mumlava river and the Lubošská stream, the distinctive character of which is given by its irregular, slanted roof. The clean lines of the hut are not even disrupted by the larch door blending in with the façade.


The OKO is located on a busy hiking trail, serving as a perfect spot for tired hikers to rest. Thanks to the foldable and openable parts, the space of the shelter can be modified to meet our needs: it functions as an open space in the summer, and becomes a closed refuge for the winter. The “eye” of the house is the hemispherical opening offering a window to the outer world.


The SILO shelter with a cylinder-shaped floorplan was built by reutilizing an old steel silo. The architects’ goal was to use old and natural materials in a value-adding manner. The light coming in through the roof enhances the atmosphere of the shelter, where we can rest our bones on a massive wooden bench.

You can find more information about the project and the location of each shelter on the program’s website.

Source of the photos: CZECHDESIGN, ČVUT

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Architects: Tereza Houdková, Nikola Macháčová, Radka Smičková, Pavel Struhař, Veronika Tichá, Jakub Daniel, Jana Fišarová, Hana Nováková, Kateřina Vrbová, Daniela Lukáčová, Zuzana Malá, Andrea Nováková, Anna Blažková, Erik Ebringer, Julie Kopecká, Michael Košař, Michaela Křižáková, Roman Hrabánek, Alexandr Kachalov, Lukáš Kalivoda, Jakub Kochman, Nicoll Šiková, Pavla Neradová.


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