Net Zero Cabin (Gunnison County, Colorado)

This off-the-grid cabin is located on a mining claim in southern Colorado at an elevation of almost 11,200'. 

The Olmer Cabin will be a 1400 s.f. “off the grid” retreat to be built at 11,200’ near Pitkin, Colorado in Gunnison County.  A 4WD jeep road accesses the 20 acre historic mining claim in the summer, but access in the winter is limited to “skinning in” or snowmobiles.  The residence will have a “main” house for entertaining large groups with a master bedroom loft above and a separate “bunk” house for putting up friends and family.  The space between the two structures serves as a receiving area, carefully positioned on a clearing in the trees that allows for great views of Green Mtn.  The design seeks to tuck the house within the trees with the primary orientation directed towards Mt. Helmer of the Continental Divide in the distance.  The structure is precariously placed on a natural “edge” where one side of the house is firmly anchored into the landscape with a cast in place concrete wall (articulated to serve as firewood storage) and the other side is elevated on stilts as the land rapidly falls away, reminiscent of the US Forest Service lookouts of the past.  Raising the main floor above the earth was done to accommodate the 5 plus feet of snow that sits on the ground throughout the winter.  Incorporating many of the principles of the Tiny House movement, the design includes a composting toilet, low flow showers, solar panels with on-site battery storage, and highly efficient wall and window systems.  The owner of this property has been building the project over the past 3 years with a number of close friends during the 4-5 summer months that the site is accessible by 4WD vehicle.

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