Cottonwood Cabins

Date: 1/21/2019 - 7/1/2019
Principal Researchers: ColoradoBuildingWorkshop
Design Build 2019
Faculty Advisor: Rick Sommerfeld Location: Thoreau, New Mexico

High on the Colorado Plateau just outside of Thoreau, New Mexico in a desert landscape characterized by Juniper and Ponderosa Pine forests, six new bunkhouses and an outdoor kitchen create a welcome refuge for trekkers at the basecamp for Cottonwood Gulch Expeditions.

The objective: to foster a sense of community while reinterpreting the place based local vernacular which is rooted in the landscape. The earliest set of cabins, designed by Kurt Vonnegut Sr., architect-father of the renowned writer, are open air structures with retractable canvas flaps used to cover the window openings. Drawing on the camp’s rich “porch culture,” the new cabins are conceived as pairs of 200 sq ft bunk houses that share a singular roof over a common outdoor gathering space. Each cabin seeks strong connections to nature using apertures to maximize the experience of the outdoor environment. The doors, conceived of as movable walls are mounted on sliding tracks, that when opened connect each bunkhouse to a shared porch. Large glazing areas allow the interior to be flooded by the morning light and provide occupiable moments to contemplate the world outside.

Interior bunks of Cottonwood Cabins

Exterior of cabin in daylight

Exterior of a cabin in the afternoon

Cabin hallway interior

Cabin exterior at night with lights on inside

Colorado Center for Community Development

CU Denver

CU Denver Building

1250 14th Street


Denver, CO 80202


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