A D A P T A B I L I T Y Snowshoe Cabin
New Construction, family vacation cabin
1,200 sf, Soda Springs, CA
Set at the edge of a spectacular granite valley in the foothills of the Sierras the site is accessible only by cross country skis or snowshoe as the snow pack typically reaches 10 feet high. Our challenge was to design within a very tight budget a house that would adapt equally well to hot summers and to ultra-cold winters when the snow buried the fist level.
Our approach was to create a triangular three story floor plan that threaded a wedge shaped volume between existing pines and opened up to the view as one progressed through it. The front door is located up a set of widening stairs at the 2nd level to remain usable during heavy snowfall. Inside the main level includes ski closets, bathroom, a galley kitchen and double height living area with built-in seats that unfold into beds. A wood-burning stove set on a granite hearth heats the entire house by generating rising hot air captured in a high, fan-activated duct that recirculates it to the first floor bunk room. Interior stairs from the main level lead to a loft master bedroom suite and bathroom, open to receive the rising hot air.
The narrow floor plan permits thorough cross ventilation in the summer, and the two story windows collect passive solar gain onto the granite hearth. Exterior shutters protect against winter storms and heat loss at night. On top of the main cabin structure sits a prism shaped roof, cantilevered to shade in the summer and steeply sloped to shed seasonal snow.