Srdan Nad

The Wooden Tents

Srdan Nad
29. October 2015
Wooden Tents: a new interpretation of a frontier cabin (All images courtesy of Srdan Nad)

The jury, composed of Todd Saunders of Saunders Architecture and Jenny Wu of Oyler Wu Collaborative, has chosen the design concept "The Wooden Tents" by Slovenian architect Srdan Nad as winning design in the Summit Powder Mountain design competition.

Cabin + Tent: a new concept of a wooden tent defined by fireplace and dynamic skin that defines a living space of the cabin

Summit is building a mountain town around the spirit of innovation in the heart of Utah's Wasatch Mountains. Summit Powder Mountain aims to rethink the great American mountain town around a community focused on innovation, entrepreneurship, arts, and altruism. 

Cabin & Nature: low-impact construction

To set up a design base for further development, Summit organized an open call, worldwide design competition "to select the design of a cabin prototype in an effort to push forward the conversation around what it means to build responsibly at 8,400 feet (2560m)." The competition sought submissions for a structure of up to 2,500 square feet (230m²), which will be located on a 12 degree sloped site at Summit Powder Mountain. The community is to consist of nearly 500 single-family home sites, clusters of small dwellings, and a lively village center on 10,000 acres of untouched land.

Floor Plans: functional and flexible

All buildings, site landscaping, and construction at Summit Eden are to be healthy, durable, restorative, and a complement to the natural landscape. The design of the site and the buildings must incorporate sustainable building design and construction practices, including: utilization of renewable and highly efficient energy systems, green building materials, recycling of construction waste, utilization of natural day lighting, and water conservation measures.

Cabin Facades: geometry and dimensions

The Wooden Tents
There is something poetic seeing a temporary settlement for Summit Series Events on Powder Mountain made up from simple white tents. A tent is a simple structure, a thin cloth pitched to create habitable space and offer basic protection from the weather.

Community: a dynamic layering of nature and cabins

The architecture of The Wooden Tents concept is based on notion that a tent like feeling should be preserved while making a permanent habitable structure. To emphasize the lightness of the structure, a thin skin (1.5' thick / 40cm) made from cross laminated wooden prefabricated panels is being folded over to create interior space of the cabins. The missing sides, leftovers from the folding process are covered by large glass walls. In contrary to the lightness of the folded skin, a typical American vernacular element, a stone chimney set on the side of the building, is being reinterpreted as a support for the whole structure that is lifted from the ground. On one side the cabin leans form a deck and on the other it is supported by the chimney.  

Roof Dynamics: bring the mountain geometry indoors

The whole concept allows for a multiple cabin sizes to be developed from a simple one bedroom structure to a large three or four bedroom luxury cabins. Even customizations are welcomed, from floor plan changes to a facade choice. In the entire wish is to avoid a "cookie-cutter" community yet preserve a singular concept thought.

Framed Views: making every cabin unique

Sustainability is achieved on two fronts:

1. By design, cabins don’t require large earth excavations. All the supporting elements (a chimney and a deck) have small footprint and require minimal foundations. The elevated structure suggests a notion of living in nature rather than creating your own piece of paradise.  In this way a natural element are preserved.

Minimal: a structure and skin in one

2. By technology, the cabin structure is made from cross laminated panels with fully integrated pluming electrical connections. On the structure itself a thick layer of insulation is installed. The heat pump and other technical machinery are housed within the chimney structure. Large glass walls allow sun energy to enter the cabin and heat the interior. The glass walls are made from triple glazed glass panels.  The intention is for cabins to certified with European passive home standard and American LEED standard.

Variations: building volume and facade should be made in several variations

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