Backcountry Ski Patrol-1

A recent design competition called for entries for a backcountry ski patrol and emergency services operation center for a site at 9,000 ft in elevation somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. The winner of the 2010 Cavin Family Traveling Fellowship was Garrett van Leeuwen, a recent graduate of Architecture at Cal Poly, who now has $10,000 to use towards travel in order to learn about sustainable building. Garrett’s winning design 11,300 square foot facility incorporating emergency medical facilities, a backcountry operations center, sustainable building strategies as well as passive solar design.

The location for the backcountry operations center is at the top of a hill in a large valley with commanding views of the nearby ridges and terrain. Four main program categories make up the operations center – avalanche control, emergency medical service, ski patrol office and vehicle storage. Each program category needed an increasing amount of space, with vehicle storage needing the most and avalanche control needing the least. So four separate rooms were designed for a each purpose in ascending size, and linked together with storage towers and a hallway.

Backcountry Ski Patrol-3

As the operations center is located in a typically cold and harsh climate, a foyer was added to the front to act as a buffer zone to minimize heat loss. The four rooms are set in an arc facing south to take advantage of the sun. Clerestory windows on the south side bring in light to the back of the building, while a shed roof on the north helps shed snow and protect the building from the wind. Straw bales are used to underneath the floors to provide insulation from the ground and the rest of the building has high insulation to retain heat.

The building is heated with radiant floor heating, which is powered by two wind turbines mounted on building integrated towers. Additionally, snow melt is collected and purified and used for drinking water and toilets within the operations center. When the water storage tank is full, snow melt is directed away from the building. Although this competition was purely hypothetical and not for a real project, Garrett van Leeuwen definitely designed a viable and sustainable building.

+ 2010 Cavin Family Traveling Fellowship

Via Bustler

Backcountry Ski Patrol-2

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Backcountry Ski Patrol-4

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