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SAVANNAH NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE SAVANNAH COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN • ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN STUDIO I • PROFESSOR MOHAMED EL NAHAS BRENT DANIEL WHITE • BWHITE6386@EMAIL.VCCS.EDU • 703 675 1457


SAVANNAH NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

The task is to design a facility for the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge to promote public awareness. Traditionally, public awareness is accomplished through education. It is my intent to introduce a structure as an inclusion to the site which will house intuitive and interpretive activities for fostering aware of the local ecology. It will play a significant role in the

SNWR

as a super-organism by informing visitors about environmental issues. It will allow the existing foliage to pleach within, ensuring natural healthy growth.

Addressing these issues will instill a

passion in visitors to rethink the environment they reside in and the harmful social rhythms they participate in.

Visitors will become a partner in our world’s wonderful ecosystem.


The contrast between city and country is heightened by glimpses of the Savannah industrial port complexes silhouetted across marshlands and rivers. - The Georgia Conservancy

The canopy of this tree provides shelter physically and physcological It frames a view which creates a deeper sense of awareness through allowing one to focus.


Savannah National Wildlife Refuge is unique in that the wildlife is hidden. Once you see an animal you are inspired to find more because they are not on display as you will commonly find in a zoo.


This portrays the essence of ratio. Spanish moss is an interesting element that colonates without harming the

Live Oaks that it rests upon. It structure in detail is as interesting as it is in context. beautiful

This portrays the essence of ratio. Spanish moss is an interesting element that colonates without harming the beautiful Live Oaks that it rests upon. It structure in detail is as interesting as it is in context.


This image speaks of life and death. This contrast is essential to appreciate the beauty of life.


On the other hand, there is a contrast of natural to manmade, and it is up to us to decipher what is necessary to create a symbiotic relationship.

The canopy concourse of these trees is a powerful element in the nature of the refuge. It is a pathway that connects the parking to the marsh, as well as a resting area where site users might picnic and play. Its circulation pattern and ability to pause a pedestrian to admire minor details and major views became inspirational.


This was a composition of parts that were found around Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia. I felt myself in a child-like trance as I discovered the pieces, standing there holding them out for approval as one would expect in adolescence.

As I stood there I wonder if it is possible to

capture this essence.

A snake’s body is constantly seen in consecutive curves, even when in motion. If this form is re-created then there might be a sense of motion in the form.


I began to understand the qualities of nests and interpret them into a human application. I inherently used harsh metallic material to explore create a connection to the industrial ports. Ideally, this would become a series of

natural site installations supported by the existing trees, connected by bridges and branches.

Nests rest high,

freeing base soils from disturbance and preserving figure ground.

Walking downtown in Savannah I was analyzing different buildings and tying to understand their skin. I noticed how many of them responded to their neighbors fenestration. The refuge is lacking a built environment aside from the man-made dykes from when it was once a rice plantation. This forced me create an architectural language that responded to the nature on site.


Inspired by the notion of nesting; I began to break the concept down into its elemental state. I wanted to connect trees by moving people in and around them. I used metal to heighten the contrast of city to country. This time I used a massive recycled metal wall in hopes that a person might

stand next to, on top of, or under a massive metal element while peering over the marsh to the distant cranes of the port.

The preliminary concept for this project was Spanish Moss, as a metaphor for developing the visitors awareness and light impact on site. If we analyzing traditional

Zoo’s

in raising public awareness of wildlife it’s apparent that commonly raise worldwide awareness. In the case of

SNWR the goal is to raise a local awareness based on its existing condition unlike a Zoo where conditions are actually forced installations. Modern technologies allow for versatility in prefabrication with low impact on site. This is commonly seen in the construction of modern bridges. Colonizing simple geometries to develop a larger unique form relates back to the growth pattern of Spanish Moss.

The site currently boast’s a 4.5 mile (7.25 Km) drive through the wildlife reserve. The building is sited at the entry to this experiential drive. The form grows out of a concourse that is developed from the base of a series of

Live Oaks. This entry is meant to intercept you upon Circulation is exterior keeping you aware of your surroundings. existing entry.


It was intentional to have the building present, yet subtle, upon entry into the refuge. This gives visitors a preview of what they are about to experience.

As you proceed up the ramp, which directs you around the interpretive gallery, you are

progressively being towered

over by this tree-like canopy of curtain wall.

Looking to the marsh through the trees. Nested in the trees peering through their viewing frame creating a peripheral contrast and a powerful view.


The structure in is bold fluidity is a guide for

circulation, ending in

the interpretive gallery.

The lighter external ramp pushes you out of the building aside the drive making you aware of your exit from the visitor center.

The most exciting portion of the building is where the bright visual circulation element terminates.

This area is partially outwardly focused, positioned higher than all the other space on the site.


The Cafe’ is the last

destination in the building.

It brings your tour to a rest, providing a rest from the stimulating interpretive environment.

The more private functions are place under ground while the more public outwardly focused spaces are place above ground.


EXHIBITION/ CLASSROOM

INTERPRETIVE

WOMEN

GALLERY

MEN

OPEN TO BELOW

INTERPRETIVE GALLERY

LIBRARY

CAFE’

STORAGE

RECEPTION

OFFICE/ MEETING

M/W OFFICE

OFFICE

01_GARDEN PLAN 0’

16’

32’

02_GROUND PLAN 0’

16’

32’

03_MEZZANINE PLAN 0’

16’

32’

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge  

Savannah, Georgia

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