New Refuge Gervasutti

Living in nature on tip-to

This, the first alpine refuge of the latest generation, provides the optimal combination of comfort, safety and respect for the environment. It was installed in mid October on the Freboudze glacier, in front of the spectacular East face of the Grandes Jorasses of the Mont Blanc Range. It is now ready for use by mountaineers and climbers.

The Gervasutti refuge was commissioned by CAI Torino, the Italian Alpine Club. Under the guidance of SUCAI the subsection of CAI Torino and the Ski Mountaineering School, the project was realised thanks to the works team coordinated by the project managers Luca Gentilcore and Stefano Testa. The refuge represents the pinnacle of achievement of LEAPfactory, (the acronym means Living, Ecological, Alpine Pod) an Italian Company that designs, creates and produces modular structures which have minimal impact on the environment.

The realisation of the refuge is a great achievement, in that the materials used are of a high standard and use sophisticated technology capable of handling the problems of extreme temperatures and the difficulties of installation, given the altitude and the position in the midst of a glacier. 



The interior fitting of the functional units is carefully thought-out to provide optimal quality.

Even if limited, the interior space is furnished for a pleasing and rewarding stay under all aspects. The selected materials guarantee durability, hygiene and safety (class A1 fire-reaction) while providing a warm and welcoming interior of refined design. The proposed solutions are fully customisable both for the functional layout and the finish of the materials used. LEAP can be equipped with technological systems for the production of energy and a unit to measure local conditions (self-diagnosis, weather conditions, web-cam, emergency rescue communication) connected with logistic and rescue headquarters. A sanitary module is available, equipped with a biological toilet that disposes of all sewage without polluting the environment.

The basic concept of LEAPfactory is a strong consideration for environmental impact.

The aesthetic features of LEAPfactory don't try to mimic or resemble any traditional alpine structure. On the contrary, the intention is to effectively declare its unrelated look in the surroundings through the expression of its high-tech features. The ecology of LEAPfactory lies in its transitional nature and total reversibility. At the end of its "life cycle" the pod can be lifted away by helicopter without leaving any permanent trace of its presence in the natural environment. The industrial off-site construction makes use of ecologically certified materials and processes and leaves no production waste.

LEAPfactory introduces an innovative strategy for the construction of unattended fixed bivouacs.

This type of installation represents an interesting form of support to trekking and mountaineering activities with a much lower environmental impact than the traditional mountain shelters. LEAPfactory solves all the problems of existing types of bivouac. It is entirely built off-site, suitable for transport by helicopter and easily installed on location at high altitude requiring a limited number of operations. It is built using state-of-the-art technology for durability and to withstand all kinds of mechanical and atmospheric stress. It offers comfort beyond any present proven standard.

The modular design makes it possible to set up different sizes of bivouac according to different requirements.

Each module is identified by a specific function. It is possible to organise the best layout for each location in terms of sleeping accommodation, living room space, number of entrances. Different accessories allow the choice of the outside view, including impressive scenic solutions. This kind of layout also gives the opportunity to change the layout of the bivouac over time: increasing the size or swapping around the functional units. In the case of serious damage it is very simple to remove modules to be taken off-site for repairs or replacement.

A winning strategy

The construction technologies are derived from the nautical and aeronautical industry. The remotely controlled diagnosis equipment reduces running costs for higher effectiveness.

The overall cost of LEAPfactory is highly competitive with the traditional solutions thanks to a fully industrialised production and its high-end engineering process.

All materials used throughout production are rated with a certificate of ecological origin and recyclability.

Description from the architects


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