The Big Sky Ski Lodge is a project that seems best described as an experiment in structure and space. Those are good italics back there. I mean, why should everything have a cool outer form and then either have cool  structure hidden away or -the ultimate downer- completely ordinary, value engineered structure in plain view?

Courtesy of Nikita Troufanov

Designed by Nikita Troufanov at the Illinois Institute of Technology, it pulls tension and overlap and the cement mixer motion into it’s form and programmatic setup. (As a fun fact, the cement mixer was how I pinned one of the only two people I ever beat in the year that I wrestled. You get ’em in a sort of half-nelson headlock while you’re both standing and then push them. Not to knock them over mind you- that would be a negative outcome- but to get them to push back. Once they do this, you’ve won. You just need to sit down as soon as you feel them pushing back and you quickly flip them over you as you sit down and you’ve got them instantly pinned. You’ve tricked them into losing. What can I say? I was a small middle schooler.)

Courtesy of Nikita Troufanov

So back to architecture, and speaking of wrestling- muscular systems were an inspiring factor for how this ski lodge is ‘put together’. Rather than some sort of brute force approach of massive elements ultimately living up to what you expect of them, a system of muscle ‘chunks’ fuse together and overlap forming cell like aggregations, working from course to fine grain, small elements congregating to create and imply depth rather than it all just being solidly there. The structure of site-cast concrete weaves throughout this choreography, doing a bit of choreographing itself; it alternates between states. Deep beams flip axis and become slabs. Frames splinter off of and into beams.

Courtesy of Nikita Troufanov

Working in a similar way, the programs of hospitality and ski patrol amalgamate together, with the hospitality stepping up through three half-levels, reaching objective points- whether it be a scenic view or spacial atmosphere- and plateauing out. Who knows? It might be better just to do a token run for the day and spend the rest of it with some beer and friends in the lodge?

Though I would tell that business man in the green shirt to buzz off and mind his own business. Where’s the meeting? Is business casual the new style from Salomon?

Courtesy of Nikita Troufanov

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