Colorado Outward Bound School Micro Cabins 2015

Date: 8/8/2016
Others Involved: Structural Engineer: Andy Paddock Student Researchers: Derek Ackley Sidney Aulds Brent Beicker Matthew Breen Andrew Brown John Giddens Brandon Gossard Aaron Gray Dane Hardy Chad Holmes Casandra Huff Mark Hurni Timo Jyrinki Rachel Koleski Kate Lucas Nathan Moore Matt Ollmann Aleka Pappas Holly Paris Nathan Pepper Kit Piane Ken Roberts Louisa Sanford Joe Stainbrook Brandon Sweeney Phil Stuen Amanda Tharp Elliott Watenpaugh Becca Barenblat Jeff D’Addario Sam Palmer-Dwore Faculty Advisor: Rick Sommerfeld
Scott Lawrence
JD Signom
Jordan Vaughn

Located on a steep hillside in a lodgepole pine forest, these cabins were designed as micro dormitories for the Colorado Outward Bound School. The cabins sit lightly on the landscape, directing views from private spaces towards trees, rock outcroppings and distant mountain views of the Mosquito Range. More public “community” views are directed into social spaces that develop from the organization of the cabins in relationship to one another. These community spaces are made up of front porches and the negative spaces between cabins.

To satisfy clients’ lodging and storage requirements, and to facilitate completion in three weeks of on-site construction, the cabins were conceived as two separate elements, a “box” and a “frame”. The “frame” acts as a storage device for the educators’ large gear (bikes, skis, kayaks, etc.) while simultaneously housing the cabin “box” and covered porches. The prefabricated cabin “box” rests in the frame under the protection of a “snow roof” designed to keep the winter snow load off the waterproofed roof below. Hot rolled steel provides a low maintenance rain screen for the box.  This steel cladding and the vertical columns blend with the lodgepole forest minimizing the visual impact of the cabins. Structural taped glazing on the windows eliminates mullions and connects the occupants directly with natural views.

The interior of the cabin is skinned in CNC’d birch plywood bringing warmth to the interior and evoking a connection with the trees surrounding the site. The plywood is specifically milled to accommodate desks, beds and storage for each user. The walls and CNC’d plywood were prefabricated in Denver, flat packed onto trucks and shipped to Leadville to shorten the on-site construction timeline.

2015 American Institute of Architects Colorado Honor Award
2015 American Institute of Architects Colorado Citation Award
2015-2016 ACSA Design-Build Award
2016 Architizer A+ Award Residential: Private House XS

College of Architecture and Planning

CU Denver

CU Denver Building

1250 14th Street


Denver, CO 80202


CMS Login