The development and design of the Summer Cabins for the Girl Scouts of Utah (GSU) was the inaugural project of a new partnership between the School of Architecture at the University of Utah, and  the Girl Scouts of Utah. The three, 700SF cabins were designed to a regionally rooted typology of simple barn buildings, clearly defining the project as highly sustainable from a design as well as a material standpoint. They are constructed from Interlocking Cross Laminated Timber to incorporate locally sourced wood damaged by pine beetle infestation prevalent in the American West into the assembly of solid wood panels. Utilization of this new material puts the project at the forefront of sustainable construction with findings expected to influence the construction market along the Wasatch Front and beyond. Concrete piers minimize construction disturbances while simultaneously maximizing land use efficiency. The design maximizes site conditions (sun exposure, wind protection, orientation) and preserves environmental quality with the goal to support the local ecosystem through design with nature. The cabins will raise critical awareness of finite resources and management of natural resources for the client community. Within its larger context of the GSU, the project creates a space of communal significance and social value.

The collective, integrated design/research/construction process applied by the team consistently included all stakeholders – building authorities, students, scouts, contractors, and trades – to efficiently provide a long-term economic benefit for the users and non-profit GSU.


• 2015 Wood Design Regional Excellence Award

• 2014 AIA Utah Honor Design Award

• AIA Utah Distinguished Service Award

• 2014 Design Arts Utah Juror Award

• 2014 ACSA Diversity Achievement Award

• 2014 Honorable Mention Award – Public interest Design Award

• 2014 ACSA Collaborative Practice Award


Development and Design: Jörg Rügemer, University of Utah, with Erin Carraher

Client: Girl Scouts of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Contractor: Euclid Timber, Heber, UT

Structural: Acute Engineering, Provo, UT

Photo credits: Nicholas Steffens, University of Utah

Related Web Links