EAlogo EAlogo

the south face of the school among the aspen trees

“We could not be more pleased with the design and the final product, it just feels like the building belongs there."

~Chris Taylor
head of school

After Ewers Architecture completed the Master Plan for this independent high school, the most pressing need was to replace the dilapidated Bunkhouse with a new dormitory for the younger male students. The demands for the building were simple – provide sleeping quarters for 20 boys with adult supervision that is indestructible as well as sustainable with a limited budget.
Starting with our typical charrette (group design exercises where all the stakeholders are involved in the design), and many iterations of the design afterward, we arrived at a unique conclusion that could meet all these requirements. Some of the unique characteristics that define this building are:
• Broken into three major segments, the faculty residences at each end of the building are angled to reflect the change from the dormitory spaces in the center of the building.
• Built into the side of a hill, the building is one-sided with generous amounts of glass absorbing the south sun. Known as an "earth berm", the north side is protected from the harsh weather and benefit from the constant ground temperature.
• Concrete floors absorb the energy from the south sun and radiate the heat at night, reducing the effects of the daytime high and nighttime low temperatures.
• The building is designed for future photovoltaic panels to produce electricity from the sun, but these panels are also designed to be a part of the architecture.
• High efficiency systems such as radiant floor heating, LED lighting, and low-flow water fixtures all ensure this building uses a minimal amount of the earth’s resources.
• Locally harvested beetle-kill pine is used for exterior siding, interior flooring and interior trim.
• Rugged materials and construction are built boy-tough, such as exposed concrete floor (lower floor), wood floors upstairs will look better as the building ages, corrugated metal panel toilet wall finishes, and solid wood corner guards.
• On-site water collection as well as on-site sewage treatment allows the water to flow in and out of the site at virtually the same rate.


location: 42605 Routt County Road 36
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
date completed: 2010
building area: 7,000sf
student beds: 20
construction cost: $1,400,000
cost per s.f.: $200/sf
civil engineer Baseline Engineering
landscape architect Susan Saarinen
structural engineers KL&A
mech/elec engineers Shaffer Baucom
general contractor: TCD
sustainable features: passive solar
beetle-kill pine
earth berming
high-efficiency heating
increased insulation
healthy materials
low-water consumption fixtures