Smart Mountain Shelter | Lusio architects

| 10 : 00 – 24 May 2018 |


Mountain shelter, Ski along mountain

Bulgarian design firm Lusio Architects in collaboration with Ivanka Ivanova and Krassimir Krumov design a energy-efficient, smart shelter to be assembled on Vitosha Mountain in Bulgaria.

Winner of Shelter of the future – Architecture of 2050 competition, the structure can be easily transported by helicopter and assembled on site on variable landscape. Envisioned as an oasis to hikers and tourists, the innovative mountain shelter transforms into a beacon when weather conditions are bad.

The winning proposal by Lusio along with collaborating architects covered the critical issue of vandalism, which was beyond the scope of work enlisted for the entries. The self-sustaining mountain shelter also incorporates lights and signal system which can connect mountaineers stuck in bad weather to the nearest rescue team.

Camouflaged with the surroundings © Lusio Architects

From the Architects – 

A smart mountain shelter design will settle in Bulgaria’s mountains next fall.

An innovative mountain shelter will be placed in Vitosha, Bulgaria in the fall of 2018. The winning project in the competition “Architecture of 2050” was designed by architects Maria Staynova, Violetka Slavova, Ivanka Ivanova, Krassimir Krumov and Daniela Slavova.

Sketch,Site map of shelter

Proposed site location map © Lusio Architects

The masterminds behind the initiative and the competition are Andreya Momerin and his team at They were inspired to commission and test a prototype shelter that would correspond to the standards of the near future. The competition brief called for a cutting-edge design in terms of building technology, energy and sustainability, requiring a zero-net energy modular structure, that can be produced in a lab and put in place by a helicopter.

CAD floor plan, Mountain shelter floor plan

Floor plan © Lusio Architects


Sketch, Mountain shelter transportation

Ease of transportation © Lusio Architects

Design proposal –

The winning proposal was selected after a three-stage vote by a renowned jury, by passionate mountaineers and by the children of Bulgaria, its eventual users. It was selected not only because of its technological innovation, but because it solved a critical issue that lay beyond the scope of the brief.  Through deep-dive research techniques, the design team uncovered a hidden, but critical problem: vandalism. Although mountain shelters basically serve for saving lives in fierce weather conditions, it appeared that a lot of them are destroyed, hence putting mountaineers at high risk. So, if the shelter is to last in time, it has to protect itself first.

Sketch for evolution of shape of Mountain shelter

Evolution of shape for the shelter © Lusio Architects


This insight informed the physical and digital side of the concept design. The shelter is normally “hidden” in its environment via aluminium. The coating reflects its ambiance, aiming not to attract unwanted visitors. The shelter’s body is inspired by the aeroplane industry and is extremely lightweight.

Rendered elevation, Facade of mountain shelter

East facade of the shelter © Lusio Architects

In case of bad weather conditions, the shelter transforms into a beacon, with lights and sound that make it extremely easy to find even in the thickest of fogs. In this mode of operation, a person walking inside the shelter would automatically activate the floor heating and video connection with the mountain rescue service.

Sketch showing energy management details


Innovative energy management incase of emergencies © Lusio Architects


Sketch showing accommodation details, Mountain shelter

Accommodation capacity © Lusio Architects



Rendered section of mountain shelter

Rendered section shows windows at low position © Lusio Architects

The low-positioned windows would invite him to sit on the warm floor. Also in case that the group is large, there are integrated hammocks into the walls which are easily pulled out. Also, water and shoe-drying containers are placed at the entrance.


Hammock arrangement sketch

Hammocks integrated into the shelter © Lusio Architects

Energy production – 

The shelter produces energy through solar panels and a wind turbine and stores it into a high-capacity battery; its use is prioritized only for emergency cases and critical life support.

Inbuilt sensors – 

Sensors for weather conditions and occupancy govern the shelter’s different modes. If threatening  human behaviour is detected, a signal is immediately sent to the local mountain service and a video connection is established.

Sketch showing energy production in mountain shelter


Sketch – Energy production © Lusio Architects

Installation –

The design is planned to be ready by the summer of 2018 and installed soon afterwards. The structure is divided into modules which will be transported by a helicopter and assembled on site. This makes the design easily scalable and transportable. If the prototype is successful, another one will be commissioned by the Bulgarian Antarctic Institute for their base in Antarctica.

Parts of a shelter, Modules


Division of modules © Lusio Architects


Rendered side elevation of mountain shelter

North facade of the shelter © Lusio Architects

This is the third First Prize in an architectural competition  for the young international design team who recently founded Lusio Architects. The design studio is located in Sofia, Bulgaria and looking to expand also in Denmark, where part of the team is currently based.

Project details –

Project Name – Smart Mountain Shelter

Location – Vitosha Mountain, Bulgaria

Architect – Lusio architects |

Lead Architect’s – Violetka Slavova, Maria Staynova

Collaborating Architects –  Ivanka Ivanova, Krassimir Krumov

Client –

Project type – Mountain shelter, Emergency shelter, Portable cabin

Award – Winner of ‘Shelter of the future – Architecture of 2050’ competition

Completion Year – 2018

Photography Credits – © Lusio Architects

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