Reminding us that ski season is upon us, Portland-based architecture and design studio Rhiza A+D on October 3 opened the Entrance Tunnel of the Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood in Oregon. Its undulating parabolic outer frame is more than a formal exercise – it translates to the interior’s parabolic frame that will carry the load for the eventual 20 feet of snow resting on top of it. The design, made of a dozen waterjet cut, half inch aluminum plate arches, will be constructed every year in October and taken down and stored every May. Each arch leans or “caps” over onto the next, adding to the efficient transfer of the loads. The double skin of translucent polycarbonate panels will glow while the snow is light, and can be easily replaced. Once it really hits, the entrance will become a cove that snuggly fits as the transition from the outside to the inside of the Lodge. The temporary structure replaced a Quanza hut structure that was built and adapted each year since 1955. The Lodge itself was built in 1937, without the realization that the large stairway in front would eventually have 25 feet of snow to contend with. “The concept is that it arrives with the snow and disappears with the snow” said Eldred. And it has— a light dusting of snow came on the day of the opening ceremony.
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