In Colorado, a Sustainable ‘Wee Ski Chalet’

General / People / Places / January 6, 2010

Boulder‘s Barrett Studio Architects designed the Wee Ski Chalet for a client who dreamed of living at high altitudes – without high impact.

Tucked into a ski resort, it’s accessible only by snowmobile during winter – a cozy retreat that doubles as a zero-energy home.

It’s insulated with SIP panels, and uses a photovoltaic array on an adjacent shipping container, converted to a workshop. The architects sited the chalet for passive solar, adding wheat board interiors for low environmental impact. And its footprint is tiny – just 1,103 square feet.

Inside, heat from the sun is stored in stained concrete floors. Even on snowy days, the owners don’t always fire their woodstove.

Outside in winter, skiers slice down a hill above the chalet, its privacy ensured by tall pines around it. Peeled timbers support decks on either side of the home, in a form designed to echo teepees in the woods built by children.

On hot summer days, eaves and overhangs shade the entry and living areas, keeping them cool and comfortable.

The chalet’s intimate scale brings people together to share a spectacular site, while its sustainability treads lightly on the land.

It’s a winning combination, earning the 2008 AIA Colorado Award for Sustainable Design. 

For more, go here.

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Michael Welton

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