On October 10,1999, a fire destroyed the 40,000 SF Base Lodge at the Mountain Creek Ski Resort (formerly known as Vernon Valley/Great Gorge). The Goldstein Partnership charged with spearheading an unprecedented project: The design and construction of a completely new 32,000 SF, $6 Million, temporary replacement facility, all within the 63 days remaining prior to the start of the 1999-2000 ski season.
The project included several major components: an 8,000 SF Restaurant, a 4,000 SF Bar, a combined Rental/Retail/Group Sales building of 10,000 SF, three smaller structures of 1,600 SF each — Snowboard Shop, Tuning Shop, and Kids Camp — and the following support facilities: four prefabricated mobile washrooms of 300 SF each, and a 2,000 SF mobile Kitchen. The major components are housed in lightweight stressed membrane structures, while the support facilities are housed in trailers. To satisfy the requirements of its insuror, Mountain Creek leased all of the membrane structures and trailers for the anticipated two-year lifetime of the facility.
During design, great efforts were made to give each space a unique character, even though all spaces are enclosed with the same building system. Esthetically and functionally, this project was a huge success, serving nearly 250,000 visitors during its first ski season. This project demonstrates the design potential of the only type of modular construction system which could be procured and erected within the impossibly short time available.
To minimize the cost and maximize the speed of construction, none of the structures rests on a conventional foundation; instead, their aluminum frames and pressure-treated wood floors bear on a well-drained compacted base of dense graded aggregate. While the original lodge had been two stories in height, the schedule only permitted the construction of one-story structures. As a result, the temporary complex covers a much greater area than its predecessor. To accommodate it, not only did the foundations and basement of the previous building have to be removed, but much of the area around it had to be leveled. This necessitated the importation and placement of approximately 24,000 tons of fill. The combination of the building’s construction type and large area necessitated the construction of a paved circumferential fire lane. The utilities for the complex include a large new electrical service, as well as gas, domestic water, fire water, storm and sanitary drainage, and telecommunications provisions. The schedule was too short to procure insulation for the membrane structures. As a result, they are heated, but uninsulated.
A key to the success of the project was the extremely close collaboration between the Architect and the General Contractor. Experienced working together on other complex projects, these firms coordinated their design and construction efforts to an extraordinary degree on this project. To meet the schedule, construction was performed 24 hours a day, seven days a week for over a month. Design development was compressed into a fraction of its normal duration. Shop drawings which would normally be processed in a week, were reviewed within hours. Simple and repetitive design concepts and a high degree of prefabrication enabled ductwork and sprinkler piping to be installed in record time.
In addition to planning the buildings, the architects assisted in the coordination of the owner’s furniture, fixtures, and equipment, including provisions for 2,000 pairs of skis and1,000 lockers (replacing items lost in the fire), an indoor climbing wall, outdoor lighting towers, etc.
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