Students’ hut design delights

Department of Conservation —  26/12/2013

A fresh look at the humble backcountry hut by Year 12 students at Rangiora High School has brought forward all kinds of new ideas and concepts for consideration.

Rangiora student Adam Mitchelmore chats to Jeff Dalley.

Rangiora student Adam Mitchelmore chats to Jeff Dalley

Throughout 2013 DOC Ranger, Jeff Dalley, has been working with visual communications and design students in Rangiora to design a new hut for the St James Cycle Trail, a 64 kilometre track through stunning scenery of mountain peaks, crystal clear rivers, high-country lakes, alpine meadows, sub-alpine beech forest, and expansive grassy river flats.

A prescriptive Standard Operating Procedure for hut design in the backcountry means new ideas and designs are rarely considered, but the project at Rangiora High School was a great way to think of new and creative approaches to building these shelters.

Callum Bradbury shows Jeff his Computer-Aided Design drawing.

Callum Bradbury shows Jeff his Computer-Aided Design drawing

The idea was the brainchild of teacher, Carey Prebble, who contacted DOC. Fortuitously a new hut was being considered and DOC staff were keen to collaborate.

The students were given a very specific and comprehensive design brief which would have been exactly what would have been provided to any architect.

The hut design, for 12 people and their bikes, and had to cater to various constraints, including cost, materials, weight and construction complexity.

A final hut design poster.

One student’s final hut design poster

Many of the students had fond memories of staying in DOC huts and wanted to ensure their designs would be attractive and comfortable for future visitors.

DOC staff were impressed with the students’ work, they were truly creative and many of the innovations designed by the students could be immediately incorporated in any final design.