Horizons Specialized Services: Soda Creek Apartments

A contemporary interpretation of the historic style and scale of Steamboat’s Old Town neighborhoods

Mountain Architecture, Soda Creek Apartments, Steamboat Springs Colorado

Horizons’ Soda Creek Apartments are featured on the cover of HomeLink magazine – we are thrilled!

This project and design experience was incredibly personal for our group and even emotional at times because it is not everyday that you have the opportunity to design for a client like Horizons’ and for your own daughter. Jan Kaminski, our Principal Architect, is the father of Jamie – a thriving resident currently living in one of the newly finished apartments.

Mountain Architecture worked closely with Horizons Specialized Services to design a new transitional living facility for adults who are ready to move away from a group home setting and into a more independent lifestyle. Horizons Specialized Services provides support for people with developmental disabilities in Routt and Moffat counties.

The vision of Soda Creek Apartments came to fruition with the help of a $1.27 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – a program intended to help people with disabilities find secure housing. HUD requirements specified that the new apartments be made available to adults with developmental disabilities for a minimum of 40 years. HUD also required implementation of green building practices.

Jan Kaminski and colleague Chancie Keenan designed the energy efficient building that captured HUD requirements. This was one of those projects where every option, detail, code and regulation was analyzed then scrutinized once more to ensure the best solution was carried forward for all future users.

Addressing a sense of place was a critical element on our priority list. We strived to provide a contemporary interpretation of the historic style and scale of Steamboat’s Old Town neighborhoods. Upon arrival, we believe residents and staff are greeted by an inviting residential exterior that resembles twin bungalows and compliments the surrounding mountain homes.

The building is comprised of seven furnished client apartments with an eighth apartment dedicated to a counselor who is available onsite around the clock. Each 540 square feet apartment includes amenities aimed to encourage self-sufficient living in an open floor plan design. Units are equipped with a full kitchen, private bedroom, bathroom and a stackable washer-dryer. One of the seven client apartments is wheelchair accessible with a roll-in shower.

Residents have the option to enjoy activities or communal meals in the community room or relax on the outdoor patio or kick up their feet on covered front porch while taking in Colorado sunshine. Soda Creek Apartments raises the bar for affordable independent housing in a not-so-affordable ski town.
Floor plans, Mountain Architecture, Mountain Design, Architects, Steamboat Springs

Design Features:
• Keyless combination entry systems on all residence doors.
• Each front door peep hole has a clear, wide-angle view to see guests more clearly.
• For hearing impaired residents, the door bell is wired to an electrical outlet where a light flashes when the bell rings.
• Climate Consideration for safety and path of travel: Wide eaves for clear walkways: exterior walkways are underneath wide overhanging eaves, helping to ensure snow and ice will not build up and create a hazard.
• Roofs are wired to accommodate solar panels in the future
• Implementation of xeric and drought-resistant landscaping, reducing water consumption
• To assist visually impaired tenants, the walls, door trim, light switches and plug covers have contrasting colors.
• Stackable washer and dryer
• Exterior Beetle Kill Pine Lap Siding

Energy Efficiency Measures at Soda Creek Apartments:
• All of the apartments have a high energy rating that exceeds the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Qualified Homes 3.0 standards.
• Designed to meet requirements of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star certified homes version 3 and National Association of Home Builders’ Green Building Standard
• Modest overall size at 5,480 square feet
• Hybrid wall insulation system with closed-cell spray polyurethane foam (Corbond) combined with fiberglass batt or BIBS (blown-in-blanket system) insulation framing as well as EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam 1-inch thick on top of exterior wall sheathing
• Blown-in fiberglass insulation in cold attics, or BIBS fiberglass insulation in ceiling with Polyiso (closed-cell, rigid foam board) insulation for flat roof sections
• Smart framing techniques such as 2×6 wall framing on 24-inch centers with joists and trusses located to reduce material costs and thermal loss
• Building envelope blower-door tested by energy auditor at various stages of construction to ensure air tightness
• In-floor radiant room heating via high-efficiency natural gas boilers with variable speed circulating pumps to reduce electrical loads
• Domestic hot water from natural gas boilers and an indirect water heater with a heating coil inside the tank for abundant hot water and low operating costs
• Fiber-cement siding panels, stucco and rustic-look lap siding produced from beetle-kill lumber
• High-efficiency Energy Star appliances
• High-efficiency insulated windows
• LED and compact fluorescent lighting
• Low water use plumbing fixtures, reducing water consumption
• Porous landscape detention pond to filter water from small parking lot before runs into Soda Creek waterway behind apartments
• All construction contractors were from Routt County
• Construction waste management program used to reduce and recycle waste

Fall Foundation

mountain town architecturePreparing for Winter

Anyone wishing to build a home in a Colorado mountain town must realize there is a limited construction season. This holds especially true in the resort community of Steamboat Springs, where winter seems to dominate the landscape for an average of 4 1/2 months every year. The construction trades are well aware that April through November is when building generally takes place and is considered their “busy season”.

An average home size of 3,000 sq. ft. takes approximately 12 months to complete. This means that as soon as the snow melts and spring runoff begins, everyone is anxious to begin excavation and foundation work. Once in the ground, this work is followed by framing, plumbing, mechanical and electrical, insulation, etc., and before we know it the summer season has quickly passed and winter is soon approaching. Ideally, the project will be “dried in” by Thanksgiving in order to avoid outdoor winter construction costs i.e. weather tenting and propane heating among others.

One possible alternative to ease the intensity of the summer building season (and hopefully find more competitive pricing from subcontractors!) is to implement a fall foundation.

If architectural plans are being finalized over the summer months (usually not a crunch time as all spring starts are underway), the General Contractor is able to solicit excavation and concrete bids for a fall project, when these two trades have typically wrapped up their spring jobs and are looking to fill a void in their schedule. That said, it’s quite possible more competitive bids will be obtained late summer opposed to spring.

After proper winter protection of the foundation and backfill, an early spring could allow a framing crew to get started as early as March; a time when most framing contractors would be anxious to have work. What this modified construction schedule further accomplishes is getting trades placed on the job earlier before the ‘busy season’, resulting – hopefully – in a much more economical project because theses sub-contractors are competing for work at a time when they normally have little to none.

Today is November 6, and as I’m about to post this blog on fall foundations, snow is gently falling and quickly piling up out my window. This week likely marks the end of another fair-weather construction season, and the beginning to ‘lets-get-that-project-we’ve-been-dreaming-of-started’ season. And while there are certainly advantages to the fall foundation, now is the ideal time to get your ideas on paper to capture next summer’s construction window. So drop into your favorite steamboat architect’s office: Mountain Architecture Design Group!