Denver Grad Students’ Micro Cabins In The Forest Would Suit BCs Own Wilderness


With our city now so laughably unaffordable, thousands of Vancouverites are stuck imagining wonderful homes instead of living in them. “Spaced” is a record of our minds wandering the world of architecture and design, up and away from the unrewarding realities of shoebox condos, dark basement suites, and sweet fuck all on Craigslist.


(via) These minimalist cabins, located on a steep, wooded hillside in Colorado, were designed by UC (Denver) graduate students “as micro dormitories for a community of outdoor educators.” How cool is that? We have no doubts that they’d make for awesome, educational sea-to-sky escapes, somewhere close to the ocean but high on a mountainside. They’d be perfect for serious UBC or Capilano students of nature seeking contemplative retreat, but we can’t help but covet them for ourselves. Dig the peekaboos, the monkish lack of decoration, the promise of peace and quiet. You could hike up with a book bag over one shoulder and a sack of food and drink over the other for a solitude-sating long weekend of bourbon after bacon and Byron before Biology:

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more


“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 eliminates the windows frame 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.

This project was designed and built by 28 graduate students, from the University of Colorado Denver, in 19 weeks. A team of interdisciplinary faculty and professionals helped guide the process. The project showcases architect lead design-build and the ingenuity of an integrated project delivery design team.”

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