We are inspired by the life of Ian Burgin and his passion for craftsmanship and the outdoors. We are inspired by the former Worth Mountain Lodge and its place in Middlebury’s history, as well as what this shelter meant to generations of students who found refuge within its walls. We are inspired by sustainable and simple design that creates a meaningful sense of place. Above all, we are inspired by the incredible beauty of our Green Mountain surroundings.
The Burgin Lodge will be a four-sided backcountry shelter at the base of Firetower Hill on the Rikert trail system. This multi-use space will act as an overnight destination for Mountain Club, Middview (first-year orientation), and FOO (Feb orientation) trips; a reservation-based getaway for students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni; a retreat site for Middlebury organizations with interest in the outdoors; and an open warming hut for Rikert skiers. At the very least, hundreds of users are projected to use this structure every year. The Burgin Lodge will be a four-season shelter that welcomes members of the Middlebury community and appeals to a wide range of outdoor-experience levels from the complete novice to the highly experienced.
The Spirit of Ian Burgin
Ian Burgin (‘08) was a recent alum, incredible craftsman, and active member of the Middlebury College outdoors community. He worked hard to preserve and repair the Worth Mountain Lodge while he was at Middlebury, and saw it as a place where students could get out into the beautiful environment of the Green Mountains to escape the institutional setting and the pressure of classes. Everyone who knew Ian remembers his love of the outdoors and his passion for activities like skiing, camping, kayaking, fishing, and hunting. We hope that this cabin can honor Ian’s work at the Worth Mountain Lodge and his passion for the outdoors by providing a space that encourages Middlebury College students and community members alike to enjoy the beauty of Vermont in all of its seasons. As avid outdoors people and design/build veterans ourselves, the opportunity to shape such a space and see it come into a beautiful and lasting reality keeps us up at night pouring over precedents, sketching, and remembering what made the cabins, huts, and sheds of our lives special.
The Burgin Lodge will build on the functions served by Worth Mountain Lodge, which was constructed at the top of the Snow Bowl in 1959 by the Middlebury Mountain Club as a warming hut and Long Trail shelter. We envision a space for college-community interaction, enjoyment of the outdoors, and for some, an introduction to backcountry recreation.
The Worth Mountain Lodge was decommissioned in 2011 due to an unstable foundation and a history of vandalism and improper use. To avoid these problems in the future, the Burgin Lodge will be locked and shuttered when not in use and built atop a highly durable foundation.
Middlebury College is surrounded by one of the most beautiful landscapes in the United States, and we believe that having the opportunity to get out, connect with, and bask in that splendor is an important part of living here. This structure will broaden the access to this type of experience to a much larger demographic. Previously, the Worth Mountain Lodge served as a way-point and social space that provided a retreat from the rush of life in town that was attractive to visitors of diverse skill and comfort levels. The planned lodge will not only fill this vacant role, but will also provide a warm refuge and resting point for community members and students as they explore the Breadloaf property and surrounding trail systems. In addition to the legacy of such a structure, the project itself provides a chance for Middlebury students to channel our passions for sustainability and the outdoors into a project that develops valuable design, management, and building skills, all while honoring the memory of a vibrant member of the Middlebury community.
We look forward to sharing more with you about the Burgin Lodge, and please be in touch with any questions or comments you may have.
The Burgin Lodge Team
Phoebe Howe ’15
Jack Kerby-Miller ‘14.5
Larson Lovdal ‘16.5
Sarah Kaelin ‘15.5
Joseph Mutter ’15