Colorado Outward Bound Micro Cabins

Architect: University of Colorado, College of Architecture and Planning, Colorado Building Workshop

Location: Leadville, Colorado

Category: Up to $150,000 in construction costs (category one)

Built by 28 graduate students, these 21 unique cabins are an exploration in micro housing located in a forest 10,000 feet above sea level.

Located in a lodgepole forest 10,000 feet above sea level, these 21 unique cabins are an exploration in micro housing and prefabrication. The initial 14 cabins were designed as seasonal housing for temporary staff. To satisfy lodging and storage, the cabins were conceived as two elements: ‘box’ and ‘frame.’ The ‘frame’ acts as storage for the educator’s gear while also housing the ‘box.’ The second set of seven cabins were designed as year-round housing for permanent staff. The initial concept was reduced to just the ‘box’ through the implementation of structurally insulated panels. Cedar clad porches are carved from the ‘box’ creating private spaces. The hot-rolled steel rainscreen blends with the trees, minimizing visual impact. Prefabricated birch plywood brings warmth to the interiors and connects to the surrounding environment. Each set of cabins was completed in three weeks of on-site construction by 28 graduate students.

Additional information

Structural engineer: Andy Paddock, PE, Structuralist

Lighting consultant: Blythe von Reckers, MH Companies


Jean Dufresne, AIA (Chair), Space Architects + Planners, Chicago

Richard Fernau, FAIA, Fernau + Hartman Architects, Berkeley, California

Joyce Hwang, AIA, Ants of the Prairie, Buffalo, New York

Jack Travis, FAIA, Jack Travis FAIA Architect, Bronx, New York

Kulapat Yantrasast, wHY Los Angeles, Culver City, California

Image credits


Jesse Kuroiwa


Jesse Kuroiwa


Jesse Kuroiwa


Jesse Kuroiwa


Jesse Kuroiwa


Jesse Kuroiwa


Jesse Kuroiwa