Crew Cabin at Dartmouth's Moosilauke Ravine Lodge

A Timber Frame Workshop in the Making

For decades, students working at Dartmouth’s Moosilauke Lodge lived in a cramped, highly flammable attic. When the Class of 1984 came to Outdoor Programs director Earl Jette looking to do a project at Moosilauke as their alumni gift to the school, he proposed a simple building to house the staff.

The budget would be tight, but David, a TimberHomes partner and member of the Class of 1984, was happy to coordinate a large-scale timber framing workshop, and there was plenty of interest from Dartmouth alumni who wanted to learn about timber framing and give something back to their alma mater. Enough interest, in fact, that it would be feasible to get the whole frame cut, raised and roofed in a week. Nearby alumni were willing to carry the project forward from there, spending weekends at the Lodge getting the place enclosed and finished.

Transforming the Design

A simple, utilitarian design was drawn up, but Cary Bernstein one of the Class of ‘84’s five practicing architects argued that the new building should be a showcase of design, and a testament to sustainable, locally sourced construction. Cary led the charge to rework the building, and to raise the funds to support the improvements. A raised rooftop Monitor was added to provide ventilation and better light in the center. Adding top-of-the-line Eagle windows [Link] made from sustainably harvested timber dramatically improved lighting and focused attention on the living room area. The bathroom was subdivided, a covered porch was added, and recycled-content roofing tracked down. Lattice walls would be built from construction scraps.

Organizing the Workforce to Get the Job Done

The design changes went beyond what volunteers could accomplish, so TimberHomes spent several weeks on site to complete some of the more technical details. Nonetheless, volunteers gave close to 3,000 hours of effort to complete the bulk of the work. College officials and alumni were overjoyed with the completed building.

With this fast-moving, pioneering project TimberHomes had the staff and credibility to hear all sides and forge a coherent plan out of this new opportunity, and then to manage the details through to completion. The ’84 Crew Cabin shows TimberHomes’ ability to create new opportunities for collaboration and partnership in building and have a ton of fun in the process.