Whitetail Woods Camper Cabins Win American Architectural Award

MINNEAPOLIS—Whitetail Woods Regional Park Camper Cabins, designed by HGA Architects and Engineers, have won a prestigious 2016 American Architectural Award.

Sponsored by the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Centre for
Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies, the American Architectural Awards are the highest and most prestigious awards program honoring distinguished and cutting-edge design in the United States.

The annual program also promotes American architecture and design to a global audience. “The
recreational cabins were envisioned to be unique, integrated with the wooded site, sustainable, economically affordable, and restorative for overnight guests through interaction with nature,” said Steven Dwyer, AIA, Senior Project Designer with HGA. “Since opening in September 2014, the cabins have been embraced by the public.

The award is an exciting honor that recognizes the valuable amenity the cabins bring to the park and the people who visit it.”

Designed as the centerpiece for a new 450-acre regional park master plan by Dakota County Parks within
the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area, the three camper cabins reinterpret the classic treehouse as “a house in the trees.” Entered from a hillside footbridge, the 227-squarefoot, cedar-clad cabins feature an 80-square-foot deck, two full-size bunks, dining and sitting area, sleeper sofa, and glass deck doors framing views of the forest. Warm, natural stained cedar wraps the interior.

Set atop concrete piers to minimize the environmental footprint, the sustainable cabins include natural
ventilation and ceiling fan for summer cooling, high-performance insulation that minimize mechanical heating in winter, adjustable task and variable lighting controls, sustainably harvested wood, non-petroleum based interior finishes, and shared park bathrooms and showers that reduce water consumption.

The cabins were among 74 national buildings and urban planning projects selected from 380 submissions.
“The winning projects are each stunning and provocative new additions to their urban and rural locations—authentic connections to nature and to the very cultures in which they coexist,” said Museum
President Christian Narkiewicz-Laine with The Chicago Athenaeum.

The awards will be presented at a Gala Dinner in Chicago on October 3, 2016. The winners also will be
displayed in a traveling international exhibit, New American Architecture, beginning at Contemporary Space Athens in December 2016.

The Camper Cabins previously won the AIA Housing Award, AIA Minnesota Honor Award, and Wood Design & Building Award.

Photo courtesy of Paul Crosby Photography.