2016 Residential Architect Design Awards
Custom House Less Than 3,000 Square Feet: Citation
The Colorado Outward Bound School commissioned the Colorado Building Workshop at the University of Colorado-Denver to work with 28 students to design and build year-round micro-cabins in Leadville, Colo., that would serve as hospitable waypoints for weary hikers. The seven structures are wonderfully simple: just a porch, a mudroom, and a bedroom with custom-built plywood furnishings. These cube-shaped volumes sit 10,000 feet above sea level in a frigid pine forest. The designs were inspired by the quinzee, a shelter Native Americans make by hollowing out piles of compacted snow—though for the cabins, the students opted to use structurally insulated panels. Each is perched on pilots grounded in concrete piers or existing boulders. Hot-rolled steel cladding serves as a low-maintenance rainscreen and contrasts with the cedar-clad porches and birch plywood finishes that glow orange when the cabins light up at dusk. These warm beacons call to campers to drop their packs and settle in for the night.