back country access prototype

Closer to a camping tent than a wilderness lodge, the backcountry access prototype (BAP) is a new tool for accessing the backcountry, a tool that reduces human impact within wilderness areas. The backcountry access prototype was designed to be a model for future wilderness huts providing a way of educating users about the fragility and the powerful way that humans are an inseparable part of the natural system.  We have designed a system that leaves the site as close to a pristine condition as possible without ignoring the many low impact resources readily available for harvesting.

Composed of modular components, the system is designed to take on numerous possible configurations customized for the specifics of program, site, climate and season.  The building is divided into three parcels: living, support and sleeping. Each of those parcels is made from 10’ sections so bays can be added as required to meet programmatic requirements.  The building parcels can be rotated and shifted in relationship to each other to best suit given topographical features – alpine, desert or meadow.  Each component is designed with multiple layers of thermal protection against the weather opened and closed according to latitude, altitude and other daily or seasonal climatic conditions. The first is a series of articulating clear polycarbonate shells covering the porches that can be adjusted for wind and temperature, second the exterior walls consist of sliding insulated panels that can be opened and closed, and finally a simple mesh screen to protect against insects.  Like layers of clothing on the body, each can be applied and removed as needed for ultimate comfort.

The hut is comprised of lightweight manageable pieces that can easily be brought to the site and assembled without the need for heavy impact construction.  The system sits on the land like a centipede spreading the loads across many tiny legs with the ability to micro-adjust according the slope and soil conditions.  The floor panels are composite stress skin panels that are both light and strong.  The roof is a pneumatic truss filled with insulation that would be inflated after it arrives to the site, making for both easy transportation and flexiblility in variable site conditions.

In some models, the hut would create energy harvesting the wind, sun and stream through windmill, photovoltaic panels and a small hydroelectric generator predetermined by site specifics.  Additional energy would be provided by propane brought to the site.  Water would be collected from the roof drinking.  Grey water would be recycled into the toilets and bio-filtered on site.  Brown water would be composted through the use of solar powered composting toilets. 

Like a giant sleeping bag, the building functions much like all our outdoor equipment: absolutely functional, easily adaptable, compact, transportable, and stripped away to absolute minimum requirements.