Renovation project of alpine camp Svaneti

Anna Bulatova, Marina Batalova, Nikita Smirnov
Yaroslavl State Technical University
Russian Federation

Project idea

The collapse of the USSR resulted in a pause in the development of the international sports movement and the depopulation of many sports and tourist bases. Mountaineering was one of the sports that received the most damage. The cessation of funding led to the closure of most alpine camps and the decline of the territories they occupied. However, these seemingly deserted and a little wild lands have rich tourism potential. The regeneration of such territories will make it possible to fully realize this potential and make an invaluable contribution to the economy of the regions and nearby settlements.

The main idea of the project was to identify the features and specifics of the formation of mountaineering complexes within the framework of modern socio-economic conditions, building an approach to the regeneration of the territories of former alpine camps using the example of the Svaneti alpine camp.

The main idea of architecture of the new tourist complex embodies the adaptation of the preserved architecture of the Soviet period to new conditions and local cultural traditions.

Project description

The territory of the alpine camp "Svaneti" has a very favorable location - next to the administrative center of upper Svaneti - the settlement of Mestia. Alpine camp is located on the northern slope of the Banguriani mountain range and has a fairly secluded location. A single dirt road leads to the complex, which significantly limits the number of transit visitors who choose to stay in Mestia. The territory of the alpine camp is elongated from north to south, the existing relief is quite complex: there are both flat areas and sharp elevation changes. On the western side, the territory is limited by a fairly steep slope. The buildings of the hotel and the canteen are relatively well preserved. Between them is a tower, which at one time served as a warehouse and an open climbing wall. Also there is a well-preserved roadway and a network of paths connecting the buildings with each other.

Despite the rich infrastructure of Mestia, the new tourist complex should be an independent unit capable of providing its guests with everything they need.

Functional zoning is limited by the geometry of the territory and the already established master plan. Under these conditions, the functions are located in separate buildings, which together form the public sector. Due to the small size of the site, it is not possible to place a full-fledged residential sector - it is represented by superior rooms occupying the last floor of the hotel. The tent camp is located in the northern part of the territory on the site, which was previously occupied by outbuildings. It is separated from the public sector by a canteen building, and the proposed location of the field kitchen further hides it from view. The heliport is located outside the territory on its southern side.

The diverse topography of the site divides it into several levels, creating a complex vertical layout. Complex terrain of the alpine camp allows to embed the building of rental and alpine school in relief in such way, that it doesn’t visually obstruct the hotel and the canteen it in the panorama of the complex, but seems to become one of its lower floors.

Since the territory is located high on a slope, from the point of view of perception, its panoramic view from Mestia becomes the main thing, and not the composition of the master plan. Based on this, we have defined the horizontal axis as the main one. The vertical axis is accentuated and is formed by the tower. At their intersection, a visual center of the composition is formed, where we intend to place an observation deck.

Technical information

The purpose of working with the architectural appearance of the complex was the adaptation of Soviet architecture, alien to the Svan spirit. When developing a visual solution, we were guided by the historical image and architecture of the Svan house. The first floor, or machubi, was intended for living in the winter, was monumental and made mainly of masonry, while the second, for summer living, was a lighter structure. In order to lighten the heavy architecture of Soviet buildings, when designing facades, we used large areas of glazing that de-visualize the volume. In addition, we wanted to bring a piece of Svan culture and comfort into our project, so the framework on the windows repeats the local well-established pattern, and the concrete surfaces are decorated with traditional ornaments.

From the point of view of functional zoning, the hotel building is divided into public and administrative blocks and rooms, designed for a total of 106 beds. The first floor of the hotel is occupied by a public block, which includes a media library space and a sports area. Also on the first floor is the medical unit. The administrative block is separated from the rooms by a second stair-lift node.

The alpine school, in turn, is equipped with two lecture halls, a conference hall, a library with detailed route descriptions, and a practical training room. There is also a rental of sports, mountaineering and tourist equipment, which also includes a repair shop, and a grocery store.

On the basis of the canteen building, we designed a modern cafe with 132 seats for visitors and staff, and a bar with a fully organized kitchen infrastructure. The second floor of the cafe opens onto a large terrace, which in summer can be used to accommodate additional seats.


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