The second instalment of the Alpine AA will continue to investigate human inhabitation of the Swiss Alpine region. Following “Excavations” in Summer 2012 that revealed a vast network of excavated and inhabitable spaces within the pristine mountains, Alpine AA Winter 2014 will shift the focus to a fundamental, yet highly changeable component of life: water. This will be understood in its various material states within an intricate weather system resulting in phenomena such as fog, rain, frost, snow, ice and meltwater, all of which have a great physical and visual impact on the Alpine landscape and its inhabitation by humans, flora and fauna.

Climate change and global warming have had a severe effect on the Alpine environment; receding glaciers, the largest body of freshwater in the world, and unpredictable temperature changes have led to an increase in raging meltwater streams, deadly avalanches and landslides that leave settlements at high altitude exposed to great dangers. Paradoxically, ever advancing tourism, thanks to the popularity of skiing, has resulted in the development of more and more leisure infrastructures offering all comforts even in remote Alpine regions. For some, they provide a home and a way of life while for others, they offer adventure and exclusivity, culminating in a potential conflict between nature and its various inhabitants at high altitude to be observed and speculated upon.

The Alpine AA / Winter 2014 will offer an immersive experience of winter at high altitude in the Alps. We will learn from traditional ways of living in Alpine conditions and investigate spatial, architectural and cultural mechanisms affected by weather change to develop future solutions for a safe and responsible inhabitation of productive Alpine environments. Using the narrative of water, we will follow its transformation into various states of matter at increasing altitudes to explore its qualities both as a human requisite and its juxtaposition as a powerful force of nature.