Mule Deer apartments

Material Information

Mule Deer apartments
Drake, Geoffrey B
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
33 unnumbered leaves, [9] plates : illustrations, charts, photographs, plans ; 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Apartment houses -- Designs and plans -- Colorado -- Summit County ( lcsh )
Apartment houses ( fast )
Colorado -- Summit County ( fast )
Designs and plans. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Designs and plans ( fast )


Includes bibliographical references (leaf 33).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Architecture, College of Design and Planning.
Statement of Responsibility:
Geoffrey B. Drake.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
09431533 ( OCLC )
LD1190.A72 1979 .D72 ( lcc )

Full Text
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This program was prepared during the Fall semester 1978 as part of ARCH 712 Thesis Preparation; University of Colorado Denver; Masters of Architecture Program; John Prosser, instructor. The class was designed to initiate the student into the mysteries of program writing, in this case as preparation for the students* thesis designs.
This program is establishes the philosophies of
a base for design; a base that requirements, relationships, and my project.
The scope of the project shall include determining minipium living space/storage requirements for the user, attempting to solve the conflict/contradiction of economical construction/pleasing aesthetics; assuring an acceptable economic return on a not-so-
attractive investment opportunity; choice of systems and materials to ensure low initial and ongoing costs seeking a minimal environmental impact; maximize the use of the natural environment in design and building operation.

I would like to acknowledge the assistance and kindness of the following individuals in assembling the progam materials:
James Cavin real estate Timberhill Real Estate Breckenridge, Colorado
Warren Settles developer The Chlorox Company Oakland, California
James Mortar architect James R. Mortar Architect Vail, Colorado
William J. Lunsford banker United Bank of Denver Denver, Colorado
Chuck Ogilvey apartment complex owner Apollo Park Vail, Colorado
Chuck Anderson developer Charles R. Anderson,iInc.
Vail, Colorado
Patty Prossise &. Angela Dye Summit County Planning Department Breckenridge, Colorado



This plan for development represented by text and v graphic illustration constitutes the initial development investigation and plan for an entire tract of 2.81 acres located in the Huron Heights Subdivision Summit County, Colorado; one and one-half miles north of the Town of Breckenridge business district; on Huron Heights Road, east of Colorado Highway 9.
The plan was created to promote development of the entire tract presently under a single ownership and according t4*ethe RP zoning as designated by Summit County.
More specifically, this project is aimed at helping to fill a need for employee housing.

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A primary thrust of the project is to develop facilities to meet the need for employee housing -those individuals working at a ski industry related job in the Breckenridge area that realizes the relatively low income level of these employees, while at the same time providing an aesthetically ... and'fiscally attractive product for the area, users, and investors.
In September 1978 a survey conducted by Artam Research for Charles R. Anderson and his Pitkin Creek Condominiums in Bighorn, Vail, Colorado further established a need for some sort of low-mcderate cost/ rental living units aimed at the employee market. Breckenridge shares with Vail this acute long'term rental housing shortage and for that matter Aspen's and Steamboat Springs'. All are destination resorts. All are moving from five month ski season to the year-round resort category with winter and summer employee loads moving into balance. All have experienced rapid economic growth and phenomenal price increases in real estate and housing costs.
Private developments have been aime^ at the demand for vacation short-term housing because this is where the greatest profits are to be realized. Caught in the squeeze have been those individuals working to provide the needed/desired services for the vacationers
In the Vail survey 74 percent of the sampled population (280 questionaires distributed) categorized their experience in finding housing as a serious problem. They also indicates they could not find

housing they could afford. As a Vail resident for
f . ' '
four years, I routinely spent between one-third to one-half of my net monthly income on housing costs; moving twice a year as rents waxed and waned with the approach and departure of the ski season.
60 percent of Vails employees have considered leaving Vail because of the housing problem; 79 percent know of friends who have already left Vail for this reason. While not determined by a survey, talk at Brecken-ridge gathering places centers around; not being able to find housing; not being able to afford housing, finding housing, but it is either too crowded or too far from work. Occasionally the conversations are interrupted by a bewildered newcomer inquiring about where housing might be found. 5hrugs and blank stares
are all the response he gets. .
Wages, though traditionally low in ski area towns, have begun to rise as employer s seek to attract and hold employees who in earlier years were c oming out of the woodwork. But S4.00/hr, and S64Q/mo. does not go very far towards covering the rent on a $3U0/mo. apartment or buying an 580,000 condominium a not untypical price for an 850 sq. ft. unit. 86 percent
of the Vail respondents indicated a preference to buy.
*- *
Further evidence of the housing shortage for employees is the fact that in 1974 there were two housing ads in The Vail Trail for every employment ad. Today there are 17 employment ads for every housing ad made worse when you consider that a housing ad generally represents only one unit, whereas an employment ad often reflects more than one job. The Summit Journal reflects a similar situation.

It is an undisputed conclusion, then, that housing affordable by ski area/town employees is very much in demand and needed. The type of housing is the next question.
For the purposes of this project, I have elected to consider only seasonally rented units as opposed to low to moderately priced units for sale. While there is a growing tendency for ski area/town employees to remain year-to-year (58$ of the Vail respondents), personal experience has shown that the more acute need is for seasonally rented units for ithe transient employee.
A recognition of the need for environmental sensitivity must co-exist with the intent to provide adequate yet affordable housing (a contradiction in terms?). As I approach this project, I shall remain aware not only of the visual standard and impact of the nearby Town of Breckenridge but also of the fact that the site lies between industrially zoned and residen-tially zoned areas and of the seeming contradiction of pleasing aesthetics and economic housing.
Another goal will be to develop a project that will, at least on paper, show the potential of a 15 percent annual net return on gross yearly income. It is the philosophical position of the developer of this project that the quantity of the monetary return on the investment is not as important as a favorable return and providing housing to help fill an. established need. The developer shall be endeavouring to seek out and implement and subsidies that would "sweeten-the-pot".
At this point one option under investigation is that

used for the Riverview Apartments in Eagle-Vail, Colorado, some 10 miles west of Vail Village. In this case the First Denver Mortgage Co. has arranged FHA guaranteed financing in the amount of 12,589,100 for the 73 apartments (38-2 bdrm. @ 750 sq.ft, ea. and 35-3 bdrm. @ 910 sq.ft.). Apartments will be made available on a rental assistance basis to residents meeting HUD Section 8 income restrictions, those doing so will pay approximately one-fifth of their adjusted income in rent.
However, Colorado receives only one percent of all monies in the HUD program and that restricts the state to approximately 500 to 750 units like Riverview Apartments each year.

A, Goals and Objectives
Briefly stated, included under this sub-heading are; sensitivity to scale as the selected site is surrounded by nothing higher than 35 feet above grade; a gently rolling/rising topography into the nearby mountains; a sensitivity to the physical form of the project as the Town of Breckenridge has established a Victorian image; a project.the function of which extends only as far beyond the determined needs of the users so as to keep development costs down; to establish a marketable product and not just the minimum required of whatever; a project composed of a variety of shapes/spaces/voids so as to make the most of a utilitarian project; a unity of concept so that the residents might develop a sense of community within the project and reaching out to embrace the character of the surrounding residential developments; that by providing just the right amenities within the project, the project might grow into an established part of the neighborhood. In short, this must be a development that exists not just for itself but instead one designed in recognition of its impact on all around it.
B, Image
As subjective a quality as image may well be, the point of view I am taking for this project will be developing and refining the art of placing objects together so that the results are something better than any of the original elements.

The project should have a focal point(s) not only as a design composition but also for those arriving; an interplay of design elements that play off of one another solids &. voids, highs &. lows, pitches &. flats, lights &. darks, etc.
Further qualities of the project's image should be intriguing silhouettes; intricacies real or imagined anticipation, ever-changing qualities due to light or shape variations; spatial intrigue as economy is the byword, this quality will have to be achieved in areas where common spaces intersect; enclosure -inviting, protective; exposure that the mind of the experiencer is never bored no matter the frequency of exposure, he
Relationship is another key to the image of this project relationship defined as making the parts of the environment (mar-made &. natural) fit together. Include also identity defines as the recognition and enhancement of space solids/voids or combinations thereof.
In a cost conscious project such as this, standardi--zation has to be the key and can:be achieved through the interplay of common elements: space, windows, overhangs, setbacks, roofs, pitches, offsets, ridgelines. These are micro-considerations. On a broader scale building massing will be the means by which variation is first introduced to the observer.
C. Attraction
Beyond the demand for the apartments, already established, ther must be and are other points maintaining

the projects desirability. The locale only one and one-half miles from the heart of Breckenridge -helps. Any amenities not provided elsewhere within a reasonable distance consider a day-care center, laundry, exercise, ease of access to nearby public recreational facilities. Availability of public transportation is yet another point of attraction. Summit County is about to begin an eight month study, the Transportation Development Program, partially financed by a grant from the Federal United Mass Transit Authority. Once completed and evaluated, county officials will aim for a five year implementation period.
D. Circulation
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The site is within developed subdivisions public transportation is implemented, the base will be present to warrant service.
so the when population
Within the site, the key will be to arrange parking so that distances to units will be minimal yet providing separation between vehicular and foot traffic. Also, onsite snow storage from plowing operations will have to be planned so as to prevent the Spring melt &. runoff from disturbing vehicular and pedestrian circulation on, off, and within the site
E. Micro-climatic factors
Briefly stated, the site lies on a located at 9,500 ft. elevation on narrow and shallow alluvial valley and French Creek also aligned NW 13,000 ft. plus mountains aligned
NW 5E a the north formed by SE. Ex N 5 some
xis; it is side of a glaciation cept for five miles

from the site to the East and West, the site is open to direct sun throughout most of the day. Because of elevation in the winter faces of buildings with a southern exposure receive three times the radiation on that face than on East or West faces. In the summer almost the reverse is true. The solar radiation received on the north and south faces of a building equals one-half that received on the East plus West faces. Hence a building oriented with its southerly face aligned 12 to the East of 5outh is most ideally aligned, catching maximum early morning sun as well as midt-day sun; storing that heat for release into the interior during the evening hours.
This 12 East of South orientation also recognizes the prevailing winds in the Blue River Valley (aligned N 5). In the winter storm winds sweep up the valley. The site is at the base of a hill rising to the North and NE thus deflecting the brunt of those winds. In the summer, the afternoon breezez come in from the North, rising up the valley as the warm air thermals created by the mountains develop. At night and early morning the decending heavier cooling air sweeps down the valley to warmer Lake Dillon providing natural ventilation during days that rarely get too warm -out of the direct sun).
It is therefore obvious that the buildings on the site must be alligned to capture the sun's energy as well as to ward off the adverse climatic effects (wind, snow, &. temperature) throughout most of the year. Statistically, winter climatic stresses are two times greater than summer's and as there is rarely any overheated period of the year, winter indexes shall be used .

The climate is typical of the interior mountain ranges of the central Colorado Rockies with short summers and cold winters. The rugged topography and proximity to the surrounding massiffs generally influence the climate. Average annual precipitation is 18 inches. Snowfall accounts for 2/3 to 3/4 of this precipitation and can be expected in each month of the year; below freezing temperatures occur statistically on 356 days in a year.
Mountain ranges to the east and west of the site shorten daylight exposure of the site by 2 3 r. r--. hours each day.

The nature of the site, its topographic profile and on site and surrounding vegetation, will inhibit the rule-of-thumb applied to the usu of windbreak trees; the trees placed twenty times their height from the object to be protected.
Openings and windows shall be considered as auxiliary heat sources where the South and East windows should be larger than the West and North. Placement of operable glazed openings is key to providing the
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necessary cross-ventilation.
Roof pitch is a delicate point in this sort of project For aesthetic reasons I prefer pitched roofs. For economic reasond, pitched roofs mean unproductive and expensive volumes, greater surface areas to be covered, and snow accumulation problems. Flat roofs can be so designed as to use accumulated snow as a supplement to building insulation.
In general, then, I propose to increase heat production from the natural environment, increase radiation absorption, decrease radiation loss and reduce conduction and evaporative lasses (increased interior humidity in cold weather means a lower thermostat setting in order to maintain the same relative level of comfort).
F. Energy Efficiency
The site and climate have been considered. Obviously, walls, roofs, and foundations must be insulated and/or vapor/moisture barriered. Windows must be double or triple thermopaned with the minimun necessary operable wall penetrations. Ideally, the wall penetrations to

the outside should be wood framed. Ventilation, natural and mechanical, r hast-been mentioned earlier but shall receive ongoing attention as design development continues. What has not been mentioned is the importance of entrances into the units. Initial response is to keep them south facing; keep them close to grade trapping the cooler inside air; provide double entries cold exterior into cool space into interior warmth of the dwelling unit.
G. Site Reconnaissance
The topographical character (a topographical map with any contours is impossible to obtain) of the site is f;. fairly flat from NW 5E, though with a gentle rise towards the 5E. Most of the property from the SW line towards the NE is also flat, but within 40* of the NE property line there is an 8* escarpment.
Views out of the site are obstructed by the escarpment to the NE and a thick grove of Lodgepole pines on a parcel of U.5. Forest Service land contiguous with the NW property line. Views to the SW is fairly open to the Ten Mile Range with only an interruption by the land rising on the SW side of the French Creek valley. That land rises some 200 above the site about a mile and a half away. Except for the more distant peaks to the South at Hoosier Pass all the high peaks in the Blue River Valley to the E, S, &. W of the site are visible.
. *
Native graound cover on the valley floor is primarily grasses thinning out as the transition into the evergrees forests that are predominate elsewhere.

H. General Space Requirements
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The site is 2.81 acres (122,400 sq.ft.). TThe site is zoned RP (Residential Planned) by Summit County. Setbacks are 10 sides and rear, 30* along Huron Heights Road. Maximum multi-family density allowed by the RP zoning is 15 units/acre 42 units on the site. Summit County has no master plan, but the Town of Breckenridge does. The county therefore encourages and developer to use the towns plan.
Stated earlier was my decision to concentrate on the transient market. This leads me to choose two and three bedroom units at a 4:3 ratio 24 two bedroom units and 18 three bedroom units. I also include the assumption that this class of user will tolerate tighter spaces. By experience, a two bedroom unit should size out at around 750 sq.ft, and a three bedroom unit at 925 sq.ft. These sizes should be adequate as long as locked storage is provided elsewhere in the project for each unit.
J. Specific Requirements partial list
-simplest structural/framing system -"stick" construction in view of the generally unreliable labour pool -flat roofs
-minimal maintenance exterior materials: wood/brick
-probably three floors with exterior stairs to maximize interior space
^strike a balance between interior surface finishes and appliances that are of low initial cost yet are easily maintained by the projects maintenance employees

-minimal interior furnishings moveable, recognizing the desire and need of occupants to arrange their own spatial configuration and

allow for introduction of personal furnishing s/appointments.
-no fireplaces
-as the question of natural gas taps for the site is still unresolved, each unit will have electric baseboard radiant heat with the tennants responsible for their own electric bills.
-one point not mentioned when I mentioned parking is the need or desirability to provide access to an electric outlet for at least one auto/ unit so engines can be plugged-in for the many nights when the temperature drops below -10F, -interior spatial planning must recognize need to provide views out to relieve the pressures of the tight interior volumes.
-add to this list the points brought up earlier and
those yet to be discovered as design development proceeds.
K, Phasing
It is the philosophy of the developer to consider this project in two phases inorder to cut down on the initial financial loads. Once a favourable cash flow is established, proceed with the second phase* If on the otherhand, it is determined that constructing the entire project at once would result in no financial problems, so be it.
L, A Look at Honey
Some base data and rules-of-thumbs as established by the current real estate market in Breckenridge:

. multi-family sites are commanding approximately $2,00Q/unit site. At Mule Deer this would mean a land cost of;
42 x 2,000 = $84,000
2. service and utility hook-ups currently run at
$1,500/2 bdrm unit and $1,850/3 bdrm unit 24 x 1,500 = $36,000 18x1,850 = $33.300 $69,300
3. the most recent construction costs for a similar
project (Riverview Apartments at Eagle-Vail) are $28.00/sq.ft.
24 x 800 x 28 $537,600 * 18 x 975 x 28.= $491 .400 ,,
$1 ,029,000
1. $ 84,000
2. $ 69,300
3. $1 .029.000
$1,182,300 say $1.2 million
4. rent levels are $400/mo./2 bdrm. and $5Q0/mo./
3 bdrm.
24 x 400 x 12 = $115,200
18 x 500 x 12 = $108.000
$223,200 gross yearly rental income
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5. a rough operating cost breakdown should include
the following;
a. management/maintehance that which you cannot
b. repairs &. supplies: actual items required in routine maintenance
c. utilities common to the whole project
d. taxes real estate, personal property, sales
e. payroll at least 4 full time employees including manager, labourer:, and two maids

f. petty cash/misc. items
g. printing and advertising coverage inability; property/ fire L casualty; workman's compensation; vehicular
j. snow plowing/roof shoveling
k. landscaping
The above items should absorb about 40$ of the gross rental income. Debt service and interest expenses ? Y commonly consume another 45$. Hopefully, 15$ will be left over as net income. Good management and regular thorough maintenance inside and out by owning key equipment such as a good steam carpet cleaner and vacuum cleaners are key to keeping routine expenses at a minimum.
Gross yearly rental income: $223,200
less Operating expenses (40$); - 89,280
less Debt Service &.
Interest Expenses (45$): 100,440
Net yearly goal: $ 33,480
As stated earlier a philisophical change is required on the part to the developer/owner in order to justify a rarely small yearly return on a $1.2 million investment (3$) and what can be realized elsewhere.
What I have not included is the gain realized through tax deductions by the owner(s) on top of the net profit.


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The design of Mule Deer must be done with the utmost care and consideration. A recapitulation of some of the more important factors should include:
scale/variation/sequence of space/character/ attraction/micro-climate factors/energy ef-ficiency/user preferences/environmental factors.
Present is an opportunity to help fill a critical need; employee housing at affordable rents yet providing a modest return on investment for the owners.
Key recommendations and concepts worth repeating are: -materials,texture,forms reflecting the high mountain environment
-appropriate responses to topography/solar orientation/views/circulation patterns -micro-climate and energy factors .
-the extent of the role of the automobile in determining design -access to public transportation -design and planning that respond to alpine
and high altitude characteristics of the site


There is no disagreement among the interested as to the need for the type of housing I have posed. In Vail 4,500 individuals work to supp ski/tourist industry and most need housing pri reflect their income. Breckenridge is no diff in need. Only the scope is smaller, for the t being.
parties pro-ort the ced to erent ime
Of the three sectors capable of developing employee housing; private developers, employers, governmental agencies, the former is the ideal choice based on our economic system. However, no one of the three should bear a majority of the responsibility. It is imperative that a sharing and therefore realignment of philosophies of real estate development occur.
Recognition lution of s are most vu
of the problem is an
ame hits the affected
lner able - the wallet
accepted fact. Reso-parties where tney

t. Crowther, Richard L.; Sun/Earth How to Use
Solar &. Climatic Energies Today: Hirschfeld Press, Inc,, Denver, Colorado; 1976
2. Heckman, Brett; "Employee Housing 5tudy"; The
Vail Trail. 1 Dec. &. 8 Dec. 1 978; Vail, Colorado
3. Lindley, Kenneth; Landscape &. Buildings:
Pergaman Press, N.Y., N.Y.; 1972
4. Metters, Ian L.; Design w/ Nature: Doubleday
&. Co., Inc.; Carden City, N.Y.;<1971
5. Olgyay, Victor; Design w/ Climate; Princeton Univ. Press; Princeton, N.J.; 1963
. Venturi, Robert; Complexity & Contradiction
in Architecture: Doubleday &. Co., Inc.; Garden City, N.Y.; 1966

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