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Designed by Canada and US-based MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple, Horizon is an intentional neighbourhood, commissioned to act as a home base for the Summit Series—a speaker program that attracts a set of social impact investors and innovators from various fields. The pre-planned community is designed to pay homage to Summit's relationship with community, ecology, and creativity and is a prime example of residential architecture designed within a larger societal framework. Set in close proximity to an existing village, Horizon is anything but another ski resort. The neighbourhood is an architectural expression of Summit's core values of community building, land stewardship, and climate responsiveness.
The first of its kind neighbourhood is designed and constructed at an elevation of 9000 feet and is also the first architect-designed community in Powder Mountain, Utah. Surrounded by sweeping views through the Ogden Pass to the Great Salt Lake Basin, the neighbourhood is composed of 30 cabins, strategically placed in 'lantern-like' garages, and a communal lodge designed to house a community kitchen, gym, fire pit, and ski lockers. It also includes a 'lost library' that provides a meditative gathering place for the neighbourhood.
The cabin homes range from 92 to 279 sqm in size and are created in four main typologies which either project off the mountainside like a skier frozen mid-leap or follow the contours. Each cabin is adorned with vertical shiplap cedar walls and a cedar-shingled roof inspired by the cedar-clad barns of the Eden valley below. The cedar is then taken inside to create warm and cosy interiors punctuated by aluminium-clad windows, thus creating 'Heritage Modern' homes. Beyond this, the cabins can even be customised for their occupants—a rarity in pre-planned communities.
The cabins themselves are arranged around courtyards. This thoughtful arrangement creates an ideal mix of privacy and a sense of community and togetherness. The courtyards create micro-climate pockets that are protected from strong winds that sweep the region. The circulation to and from garages and amidst the multiple units through the steel bridges is almost like the game of 'snakes and ladders.' The bridges are fabricated in steel to withstand heavy snowfall and are designed to limit views into homes while maximising panoramic views of the ski mountains.
In addition to being a design reflection of the organisation, the neighbourhood also echoes Summit's attitude towards climate responsiveness and sustainability. The design combines passive solar orientation with thermal mass concrete floors and hydronic-in-floor heating. The buildings themselves are mounted on steel stilts, keeping most of the ground and landscape intact. The overall close structuring of the neighbourhood also allows the conservation of land for future generations as the majority of the 11,500 acres of Powder Mountain will remain undeveloped.
Aesthetically, the neighbourhood is miles away from the sprawling and loud resorts that typically occupy the mountain west. The carefully considered visuals do not overtake their idyllic setting and instead focus on creating avenues for the appreciation of the breathtaking views. It is an example of a well-designed community, something Brian MacKay-Lyons of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple is very familiar with through his work on his own Shobac Farm in Nova Scotia.
The existence of customised homes in the community architecture gives the neighbourhood a sense of unity and variety at the same time, creating a seemingly utopian setting. That coupled with the spectacular panoramic views has resulted in a truly one-of-a-kind settlement in the mountains that celebrates architecture, adventure, and community.
Name: Summit Horizon Neighbourhood
Location: Powder Mountain, Utah, USA
Year of Completion: 2019
Design Firm: MacKay-Lyons-Sweetapple Architects
Design Lead: Brian MacKay-Lyons
Project Architects: Duncan Patterson, Jennifer Esposito
Project Team: Reid Joslin, Matt Jones, Ben Fuglevand, Farhan Durrani, Paulette Cameron, and interior design by Diana Carl, Sawa Rostkowska Talisman Civil Consultants
Civil Consultants: Talisman Civil Consultants
Structural Consultants: Dynamic Structures
Electrical Consultants: BNA Engineers
Construction: Mountain Resort Builders
Custom Interior Design: Haley Duffin & Megan Rider for Powder Mountain
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