Appalachian Mountain Club, Madison Spring Hut

Appalachian Mountain Club, Madison Spring Hut

Gorham, NH

The Appalachian Mountain Club offers eight “huts” for hikers to use as basecamps while hiking portions of the Appalachian Trail in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, providing accommodations, meals, supplies and educational activities. LDa was hired by the AMC to develop a plan to reorganize and renovate the Madison Spring Hut, first built in 1888 and located at an elevation of 4,825 feet between Mt. Madison and Mt. Adams. A new addition on the low end of the site houses new composting toilets, and the remaining space has been reconfigured to create a more efficient layout of dining, sleeping and meeting areas for up to 52 guests.

The project came with unique challenges, specific to being located above treeline on a mountain and 3.8 miles from the nearest road. All materials needed to be carefully laid out in 1,600-pound “packages” and were flown to the site by helicopter. New Hampshire mountain weather was another challenge, due to visibility issues and harsh winters construction needed to be carefully scheduled around the freeze/thaw cycle.

The 2,900 sf building was designed to achieve a high-level LEED rating, in spite of it not being insulated, heated, or air-conditioned and being located in the high alpine zone of Great Gulf Wilderness. The hut is operated “off the grid” using renewable energy and sustainable practices that reduce environmental impact including waterless toilets, solar photovoltaic panels for electric power, plus new solar thermal collectors to pre-heat water for cooking and washing dishes.

Madison Hut has a rich history and with this addition continues to perform a pivotal role as a leading model in land conservation, wilderness access and enjoyment.


Architect: LDa Architecture & Interiors

Builder: AMC Construction Company, Inc.

Photographer: Eric Pedersen

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