American studio Renée del Gaudio Architecture has built a retreat in a remote site that features spectacular views, composed of two buildings clad in cedar and topped with gabled roofs.
“We all carry preconceived ideas of the word “cabin” in our collective memory — a family gathering place, a place of rest after a long day in nature, pegs on the wall to hang your coat,” said the architects. “Ultimately, a cabin tells a story of it’s particular place and time in history, and of the people who dwell inside.”
Big Cabin | Little Cabin strives to embody the character and sensation of a traditional cabin and tell the story of this particular family, all within a purely modern framework.
Set high on a rocky cliff at 10,000 feet elevation, the pair of cabins command panoramic views over Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo mountains, the Collegiate Peaks, and the South Platte River. A thick forest of bristlecone and ponderosa pines surround the property to the north, giving the cabins a sense of privacy and protection.
Upon approach, the two cabins frame the sweeping view and create a wind-protected space in between. The buildings are connected with open grate steel decking, creating a slip resistant platform that allows snow to fall through to below. Great care is taken to allow an existing mature pine to surface through the metal grate deck and stand proudly in the space between. To minimize excavation and maintain the natural topography of the site, the house is built on isolated pier foundations.
The cabin’s gabled roof form and rustic materials recall the area’s early vernacular buildings. Exterior cedar siding is stained dark to blend the house with the surrounding forest. Large expanses of glass connect the occupants to the remarkable landscape beyond. Plywood interior walls and ceilings keep the cabin low key and rustic.
A simple, open plan allows daylight and breezes to naturally filter through all sides of the home. High-efficiency electric appliances and LED lighting keep energy consumption to a minimum. Closed and open cell foam insulation, double and triple pane windows with Low-E Glass, and rolling barn door shutters keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Heating is provided with a 96% efficiency boiler, radiant floor tubing set in a concrete slab, and a high-efficiency wood burning stove. The cabin is pre-wired for a 3kw array of photovoltaic panels which will supply 100% of the cabin’s electricity.