Tiny Prefab Cabins Upgrade a Rugged Camping Site in Colorado

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Given a difficult site in the Colorado Rockies, a design-build team installs rugged dwellings for a wilderness and camping program.

Sleeping in threadbare shelters and truck beds, the students and teachers of the Colorado Outward Bound School endured the intrusion of the elements during their wilderness trips. To solve the problem, the school commissioned the University of Colorado Denver's design-build program to erect 14 cabins on challenging terrain—a hillside at 10,200 feet above sea level—with minimal environmental impact. The team devised prefabricated structures to reduce time on site while ensuring quality of the build. Each cabin sleeps two to three and is clad in durable and low-maintenance hot-rolled steel. Their dimensional lumber structures and interior birch plywood built-ins were crafted in controlled conditions, then flat-placked to the site, where assembly lasted only three weeks.

Modern home with Exterior, Cabin Building Type, Metal Siding Material, Shed RoofLine, Prefab Building Type, and Metal Roof Material. The Outward Bound cabins' steel frames lift the structures above a three-foot snowpack while supporting corrugated-steel "snow roofs." Photo  of Tiny Prefab Cabins Upgrade a Rugged Camping Site in ColoradoView Photos

The Outward Bound cabins' steel frames lift the structures above a three-foot snowpack while supporting corrugated-steel "snow roofs."

These sheltered patios create communal spaces that double as storage for camping gear. Photo  of Tiny Prefab Cabins Upgrade a Rugged Camping Site in Colorado modern homeView Photos

These sheltered patios create communal spaces that double as storage for camping gear.