Mountain huts are normally utilitarian in the extreme—when you’re helicoptering up every pound of building materials, there’s not a lot of leeway for granite countertops. This Romanian hut isn’t what you’d call luxurious, but it creatively uses materials to make something better than a big Portaloo.

The constraints on design firm Archaeus were strict: they had a small budget to work with, a remote location, and the entire hut had to be transportable in one piece by helicopter. Despite that, they made a hut that looks a damn sight better than anything I’ve ever stayed in.

The Neil Colgan hut in British Columbia

For contrast: the image above is your typical high-altitude refuge. It’s boxy, boring, safe, and extremely practical. Sure, it beats sleeping under a rock, but it’s a blemish on an otherwise pristine mountain range.

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The Caltun shelter is equal parts functional and pretty. The shape is designed to minimize the cross-section presented to the wind, the aluminum siding provides durable protection against the elements, and the Cross Laminated Timber that provides structure is light, strong, and looks good to the occupants. Even the tower provides purpose: a skylight during the day, and a lighthouse for lost climbers during the night.

[ArchDaily]

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Image credit: Archaeus