Schwarzensteinhütte, South Tyrol

A beacon at an altitude of 3,000 metres

It is the highest mountain hut in the Zillertal Alps. Just 200 metres from the mountain border with Austria, it rests on a rock massif on the Italian side. The Schwarzensteinhütte is a safe retreat with imposing, sculptural architecture in the form of a boulder, harmoniously and steadfastly integrated into a notch in the mountain. Inside the hut, a breathtaking view of the mountain landscape awaits – as does the appropriate BEGA lighting.

As a result of the ever-growing number of mountain tourists, the provincial government of South Tyrol decided to renovate 25 alpine mountain huts. However, there was a problem with the Schwarzensteinhütte built in 1894: the ground beneath the hut was moving due to permafrost thawing as a result of climate change. So a new building was needed, about one hundred meters above the old site. The ambitious construction project by architects Helmut Stifter and Angelika Bachmann was completed during two summer periods of four months each. A multi-storey mountain hut with 510 square metres of floor space, 50 beds and extraordinary architecture. The ground plan is an irregular hexagon with a body that becomes smaller from top to bottom. On the widest side, the wide band of windows offers a phenomenal view – from the Zillertal Alps and the High Tauern to the Rieserferner Group and the peaks of the Dolomites. This panorama is the real highlight of an overnight stay in the Schwarzensteinhütte.

The BEGA luminaires from the Studioline series used in the interior play with the copper look of the building’s outer shell, which consists of standing seam cladding with rolled copper and conical panels. Both the LED pendant luminaires and the LED recessed ceiling luminaires harmonise with the characteristic exterior view of the refuge thanks to their copper-coloured interior shades. The combination of wall and ceiling panelling in brushed spruce and the matt black BEGA luminaires creates a homely atmosphere. Functional yet stylish indoor lighting in the Schwarzensteinhütte is guaranteed by the wide beam light distribution and glare-free, downward-directed light of the pendant luminaires in the dining room, and the compact recessed ceiling luminaires in the bedrooms and the connecting corridors – an aesthetic beacon at an altitude of 3,000 metres.

Architects Stifter + Bachmann, Pfalzen

Photography Oliver Jaist