Students at the University of Colorado Denver have designed and built a series of rustic dwellings for a base camp operated by an outdoor education program.

Called COBS Year-Round Micro Cabins, the project consists of seven insulated dwellings, each containing 200 square feet (19 square metres) of interior space and a 100-square-foot deck (nine square metres). Located deep within a pine forest, the shelters are accessed via a narrow dirt road.

The rugged structures were built for a base camp operated by the Colorado Outward Bound School (COBS), a nonprofit organisation focused on wilderness education.

The camp is situated in Leadville, a small Colorado town located 10,150 feet above sea level (3,093 metres).

“The orientation and articulation of each of the seven cabins react individually to the immediate site conditions present in the landscape,” the team said. “No two cabins are alike.”

The shelters were created by 28 students in the Colorado Building Workshop, a design-build programme in the architecture school at the University of Colorado Denver. The programme constructed 14 similar cabins for the COBS camp in 2015.

The new structures are skinned with sheets of hot-rolled steel, which form a low-maintenance rainscreen. Cedar-clad porches were carved out of the main rectangular mass.

The buildings are elevated off the ground by short metal columns with concretefootings. The composition is meant to “blend with the pine forest, minimising the visual impact”, while also reducing each structure’s footprint.