Project: ARCHITECTURE is a partnership between the Girl Scouts of Utah (GSU) and the School of Architecture at the University of Utah designed to raise awareness of careers in the AEC industry for women and to provide opportunities for architecture students to engage in service-learning projects. The inaugural project of this partnership was the design and construction of three cabins for the GSU's Trefoil Ranch Camp. The camp is located on a wooded site at the upper end of a narrow canyon at 6,040 ft above sea level within the Utah Cold Climate Zone, consisting of hot, dry summers and heavy annual snow loads.
The cabins were built using Interlocking Cross Laminated Timber as the major building material and structural system. This innovative material was developed by industry partner Euclid Timber Frame PC, a company focusing on natural building methods using no glues, binders, adhesives, or products with volatile organic compounds, with research support by the Integrated Technology in Architecture Center as a high-value use for locally-sourced wood damaged by pine beetle infestation prevalent in the American West. This wood is not usable in traditional stick-frame construction and currently stands dead in the forest increasing the risk of wildfires. Use of this material makes the cabins highly sustainable from a material perspective.
As an important part of the participatory design process, the architects hosted a year-long series of outreach events to expose Scouts directly to female practitioners, to provide student mentors in design-related programs, and to offer opportunities to visit architecture firms and construction sites. The process also provided the girls a first opportunity to engage with an institution of higher education. The cabin design incorporated a community-based approach engaging the architects, client, stakeholders, and other parties, including the Scouts as the project?s users in a collaborative and integrated approach.