Revamp your camp: State Fair entries show how

An effort is underway to show younger would-be campers that pitched tents and log cabins are not the only way to camp.

Four modern, environmentally friendly cabins – on display at the California State Fair – vary from RV-like pods to rustic-looking boxes with slanted roofs. They are a part of the “revamp the camps” mission by the Forward Parks Commission, California State Parks and 12 architecture graduate students at Cal Poly Pomona.

The Commission works to find solutions for the financial, cultural and population changes affecting state parks. The challenges include drawing millennials and urban residents who live far from traditional state parks, said Michael Woo, who sits on the Parks Forward Commission and is dean of Cal Poly’s College of Environmental Design.

The students camped at Henry Coe State Park to learn what to incorporate into their designs, said Matt Azpilicueta, a graduate student and part of the project.

Each cabin had to be portable, accessible to the physically disabled and made from sustainable materials. Cabins had to cost under $15,000 and could no have running water or electricity. Yet the design had to appeal to a younger market. Azpilicueta, 25, called the process rigorous.

“I think they were able to be imaginative, practical, sensitive to issues,” said Juintow Lin, the professor who oversaw the 10-week project.

Four of the 12 designs were selected and the students were put into groups based on the similarities between their projects. Small, 3-D models of the designs are on display at the State Fair as a part of the 150 years of California State Parks exhibit. Posters and laminated cards offer information on the materials, and surveys are available for the public to offer suggestions about what features should be incorporated in the cabins.

Of the four, the Wedge – which features a modern yet rustic look – was built and is on display outside Building 3 at the State Fair. The 200-square-foot cabin (including the deck) has a slanted roof and is constructed of materials including plywood, two types of steel and glass.

The other designs are dubbed The Revo Pod; Sky Line, which boasts upper bunk space that “is perfect for sitting and viewing,” said designer and graduate student Janus Victoria, 28; and the cPitch+

After a review of the surveys and recommendations from the Parks Forward Commission, the hope is to place the prototypes in state parks for public use.

Call The Bee’s Quinn Western, (916) 321-1031.