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Summit Powder Mountain 'innovation community' takes shape on Utah ski slopes

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Construction is underway for a mountaintop retreat in Utah focused on entrepreneurship and innovation.

Summit Powder Mountain, near Eden, is a ski village planned by architects and environmental designers Studio Ma to include residences and leisure communities that will host a year-round community of creative professionals and social entrepreneurs.

The project is taking shape on a 10,000-acre public site surrounded by ski slopes. The centrepiece of the village will be the Summit Institute, a nonprofit centre hosting innovation conferences and communal co-working and dining spaces. It will double as a concert venue, and an après-ski and event venue.

There will be two main residential districts and a main street offering eateries, juice bars, shops, public art, hotels and affordable housing for artists. A Six Senses resort designed by Chad Oppenheim is also planned for tourists visiting in ski season.

Developers expect the town to be completed and occupied by 2022, with construction progressing over two decades.

Studio Ma is working alongside Norwegian studio JVA Architects, Skylab Architecture, Saunders Architecture and Canadian designer Brian MacKay-Lyons.

Sam Arthur, the design director of Summit, the group developing the scheme, has previously told CLADglobal that the group is “subverting” resort culture by building a new type of community which will mix food, entertainment, music, yoga and skiing.

“This is a blank slate to work with and we have a 100-year vision to create a town which is enduring and meaningful,” he said. “People very much believe in the community of Summit – investing in continuing and empowering that community was the logical next step.”

A crowdsourcing campaign has been launched, with members of the Summit community able to pay between $1m (€833,000, £739,000) and $2m (€1.6m, £1.5m) for a one to two-acre plot in the village.

“The Summit founders felt like the community would benefit from having a place to invest in long-term, to build its culture,” said Arthur. “This project could have been in New York, on an island, or in a lot of different places. It just so happened that here in northern Utah the founders found a raw, beautiful, up-and-coming area.

“It’s a place to lean in closer, like gathering around a campfire. It will be an incubator for ideas and friendships and will catalyse goodness in the world.”

Speaking about the group’s design philosophy, he added: “The architecture will recede into the landscape, to be part of the bigger whole and the interiors will be vehicles to allow a great experience, to enjoy the view and the sunset. They won’t be too opulent.

“The materials will be humble and earnest, and they will be unpretentious, ergonomic and functional. Our goal is to create new mountain architecture which will be subservient to the natural landscape.”

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Construction is underway for a mountaintop retreat in Utah focused on entrepreneurship and innovation.
Construction began this summer on an expansive mountaintop retreat for entrepreneurship and innovation called Summit Powder Mountain / Nephew

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