27500 Timberline Road
Government Camp, OR
Designer: rhiza A+D
Reminding us that ski season is upon us, in early October, Portland-based architecture and design studio rhiza A+D opened its Entrance Tunnel at the Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood in Oregon. The parabolic exterior is more than a formal exercise. It translates to the interior’s undulating frame, which will eventually carry the load of 20 feet of snow.
The design, made from a dozen water jet-cut, half-inch aluminum plate arches, will be erected every year in October and broken down and stored every May. Each arch leans on the next, creating an efficient transfer of loads. Daylight penetrates the double skin of easily replaceable translucent polycarbonate panels while the snow is light. Once it really hits, the entrance will become a snug cove that transitions from the outside to the inside of the lodge.
The temporary structure replaces a Quonset hut structure that has been used since 1955. The lodge itself was built in 1937 without the realization that the large stairway in front would be made completely inaccessible by the snowfall. “The concept is that the entrance tunnel arrives with the snow and disappears with the snow,” said Ean Eldred, a principal at rhiza A+D. And it has: A light dusting of snow came on the day of the opening ceremony.