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COALITION FOR THE UPPER SOUTH PLATTE CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

THOMAS BERRY - ADVANCED DESIGN STUDIO - FALL 2011


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CONTENTS:


PRE-DESIGN ANALYSIS

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PROJECT INTRODUCTION About CUSP: The Coalition for the Upper South Platte was formed in 1998 by area stakeholders interested in “a healthy watershed, now and in the future”. CUSP’s mission is: “To protect the water quality and ecological health of the Upper South Platte Watershed, through the cooperative efforts of watershed stakeholders, with emphasis placed on community values and economic sustainability.” Priority issues include: water resources and quality, forest health, fire rehabilitation, noxious weeds, stream/river restoration, erosion and flood control, community education, riparian corridor enhancement sustainable recreation, local economies, volunteer outreach, community preparedness, and carbon sinks and storage. CUSP strives to support the personal values of a self-sufficient society of people living in the Upper South Platte Watershed.

Project Background: As CUSP looks to expand their efforts in community outreach, especially with regard to environmental education, the need for a new facility is apparent. This facility is to function primarily as a center for environmental education serving school children from throughout Colorado. Additionally, it should serve as a community gathering space and a central administrative location for CUSP. The facility should, first and foremost, support the needs of an educational facility, and must respect, honor, and respond to the local context, including the dramatic landscape, extreme climatic conditions, and the vernacular architecture of the region. Finally, this facility must facilitate the goal of connecting students and other visitors to nature in a strong and meaningful way.

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PROJECT PROGRAM: Basic Support Spaces: 





















Entry/Reception.......................................................400 s.f. (3) Offices.......................................................500 s.f Meeting Room...............................................200 s.f. Clerical Space................................................100 s.f. Restrooms..................................................................800 s.f. Commercial Kitchen................................................1,200 s.f. Dining Area...............................................................1,000 s.f. Storage / Service / Mechanical..............................500 s.f.

Lodging Dormitories: Student Quarters (Short-Term, Max. 60 Occupants)..........................4,0000 s.f. Chaperoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Quarters (Short-Term, Max. 12 Occupants)..................1,000 s.f. Restrooms / Showers..............................................................................2,500 s.f. Long-Term Lodging (Maximum 6 Occupants)....................................1,400 s.f. Caretakerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Quarters................................................................................1,500 s.f.

Parking Vehicle Parking........................................................................................Min. Per Code Bus Parking...........................................................................................................2 Buses

Educational Spaces: Multipurpose Event Space: up to 100 occupants.............................................2,000 s.f.

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RESEARCH:

DESIGN

FOR

LEARNING

It is apparent that the successful design of any type of building requires an appropriate level of understanding of the activities and functions within that building. In this case, the design of a successful educational environment requires an understanding of the practice of education. This understanding includes, at the minimum, how one approaches the task of teaching, how children learn, and what a space must provide and accommodate in order to facilitate these functions. In an attempt to gain the necessary level of understanding, time has been spent interviewing my wife, who just so happens to be an expert in this field. Sophia has a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education and Educational Psychology, and has spent a great deal of time teaching and working with children.

Throughout our discussions, Sophia was asked to provide suggestions for ways to organize the curriculum that has been described by CUSP. This curriculum, as it is understood, has a goal of teaching a group of up to 60 children about environmental and ecological issues through indoor and outdoor lessons and explorations, as well as individual reflection. In addition to this, Sophia provided insights into ways that architecture can influence and reinforce the ways in which we teach and learn. The following pages summarize this information, and provide a simple framework of elements that may contribute to the successful design of an educational environment.

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RESEARCH:

DESIGN

FOR

LEARNING

1. Work spaces should be flexible, and should have the ability to be divided into smaller spaces to accommodate varying sizes of student groups and different lesson plans. 2. Safety and control is a very important issue when working with children. Planning spaces with high visibility in all areas allows for greater efficiency in staffing and oversight. 3 Given CUSPâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s goal of bringing the outside in, it is important to plan careful design strategies that can enhance the educational experience, rather than detracting from it. Abundant natural light, natural materials and textures, carefully placed views, and the integration outdoor spaces are some of the strategies that may be desirable. 5. Quiet spaces for reflection or study are beneficial to the learning process. In these spaces, there is less emphasis on children focusing on the teacher, and more emphasis on individual reflection and exploration. These spaces are great opportunities to provide connections to the outdoors through dramatic views and outdoor rooms.

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RESEARCH:

EDUCATIONAL STRUCTURE

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1. INITAL METING WITH ENTIRE GROUP OF STUDENTS. PROGRAM INTRODUCTION, CURRICULUM OVERIVEIW

STUDENTS ARE DIVIDED INTO TWO LARGE GROUPS ONE GOES OUT TO EXPLORE, ONE WORKS INDOORS, THEN SWITCH.

3. STUDENTS DIVIDE AGAIN INTO YET SMALLER GROUPS OF NO MORE THAN 10. HERE EACH GROUP RESEARCHES, EXAMINES, EXPLORES, AND REFLECTS ON SPECIFIC TOPIC.

4. STUDENTS REASSEMBLE TO PRESENT, SHARE, AND DISCUSS, FINDINGS WITH THEIR GROUP.

5. REASSEMBLE AS LARGE GROUP, SUMMARIZE LESSONS LEARNED.

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SITE ANALYSIS:

PROJECT LOCATION The project site is located near the town of Como, in Park County, Colorado. The site is a 40acre parcel that may eventually be donated to the Coalition for the Upper South Platte by the Krain family, and is part of the larger Krain Ranch. This area is located roughly 80 miles to the southwest of Denver in the Rocky Mountains.

SITE LOCATION

Park County boasts a rich history based on mining and ranching, as well as a dramatic and beautiful landscape. This landscape includes a combination of prairie grassland, rolling hills, pine forest, rivers and lakes, and dramatic mountain ranges. The history of mining and ranching in the area provides a great deal of vernacular architecture throughout the county including schoolhouses, train depots, barns, homesteads, mills, and much more. These buildings serve as historic artifacts, providing a glimpse back in time. They play an important role in defining the character of Park County. Today, Park County is an extremely popular destination for sightseeing and outdoor recreation activities such as fly fishing.

N Park County, Colorado

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EXTERNAL FORCES

roa d

winter sun summer sum mer wind wi

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summer sun

Topography: The site is relatively flat, with 1% slope from west to east. There is a relatively gently sloping hill to the southwest of the site.

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gentle slope

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Access: Access to the site is from Colorado Road 85, off of State Highway 285 to the west of the site. CR 85 approaches from the northwest, reaches the site at the southwest corner, and follows the southern site boundary.

ac ce ss

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Sun: The site is wide open, providing full solar exposure. The diagram to the right shows the difference in the path of the sun between the winter and summer solstices.

winter wind

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Wind: Park County is known for frequent and strong winds. Prevailing winds are seasonal, and blow from the west / northwest in the winter, and from the south / southeast in the summer. Winter winds can contribute to blowing and drifting snow, which can be a concern for a site that is relatively flat and exposed such as this one.

C

SITE ANALYSIS:

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SITE ANALYSIS:

FORCE DIAGRAMS

Southwest Orientation: Moderate-intensity exposure. Here, the views and winds are strong, the sun is intense, and the best opportunity for site access exists. Northwest Orientation: High- intensity exposure. Here the winds and views are very strong. There is no solar access, so it is a cold orientation, and there is no site access. Northeast Orientation: Lower- intensity exposure. The views are strong, but less so than the western views. The wind is less intense. There is no solar access, so it is a cold orientation, and there is no site access. Southeast Orientation: Moderate-intensity exposure. The views are strong, summer winds are strong, there is good solar access, and there is opportunity for site access, although it appears much less desirable than the access from the west.

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VIEWSHEDS

VIEWSHEDS

VIEWSHEDS

VIEWSHEDS

WIND

WIND

WIND

WIND

SOLAR EXPOSURE

SOLAR EXPOSURE

SOLAR EXPOSURE

SOLAR EXPOSURE

ACCESS

ACCESS

ACCESS

ACCESS

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SITE ANALYSIS: Two main viewsheds have been identified as particularly valuable due to their beauty, and/or their significance to CUSP’s curriculum. It is suggested that these viewsheds be highlighted and preserved in some way through the design of this facility.

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SIGNIFICANT VIEWSHEDS

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The view to the northwest has been classified as significant for two reasons. First, it is a dramatic and beautiful view, in which the prairie of South Park meets the steep mountains of the Mosquito range. Second, this view can be significant to the CUSP’s curriculum, as the headwaters of the Platte River flow from these mountains. The second view from the northeast to the southeast, has also been selected for two reasons. First, it also provides a very pleasant view of the rest of the Krain Ranch property, as well as the _____ range beyond. Additionally, it may also be significant in relation to CUSP’s curriculum, as it is in this direction that the Platte River and its tributaries flow on their way to the Front Range and beyond.

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SITE ANALYSIS:

EXTERNAL FORCES SUMMARY TOOL N

This diagram is in essence a summary of information gathered through site analysis. The diagram describes five influences on the site: views, access, sun, wind, and daylight, and illustrates the direction and magnitude of each of these influences.

WIND DAYLIGHT

The tool can be used in many ways, including as a quick reference to gain a broad understanding of the primary external forces on the site. Additionally, the diagram can be used as an analysis tool for buildings or other spaces throughout the site. By simply overlaying the tool on top of any building or space, you can see how the forces are acting on the design, and whether specific modifications can be made to improve responses to sun, views, wind, etc...

VIEWS

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E ACCESS

SUN

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It is important to note that this is not yet design, and these concepts are abstract rather than specific. Here, ideas are simply being explored and a framework is being built which, once adequate information has been gathered and analyzed, can drive a physical design solution. The concepts have been divided into two categories: site concepts, and building concepts, and each concept is accompanied by a simple diagram to help illustrate its meaning.

OUTDOOR ROOMS







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COMPLEX OF BUILDINGS



At this point, research has identified a great deal of relevant information, including site conditions, environmental and climatic conditions, and the spatial and functional needs of CUSP. However, this large amount of information must obviously be acted upon in some way. The following pages include an exploration of a number of simple concepts that are related to the information that has been gathered so far, and which can eventually assist in driving design decisions.





PROGRAMMATIC CONCEPTS:

SEQUENCED APPROACH

MINIMIZE SITE DISTURBANCE

PRESERVE VIEWSHEDS

SHELTER FROM THE WIND

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PROGRAMMATIC CONCEPTS:

MULTI-FUNCTION SPACES

NATURAL LIGHT

CALM AND FOCUSED LEARNING SPACE

DRAMATIC “MOMENTS”: CONNECTION TO NATURE

NATURAL MATERIALS AND TEXTURES

HIGH VISIBILITY

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DESIGN PROCESS AND PROPOSALS

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GUIDING PRINCIPLES: Based on an understanding gained through in-depth research and analysis of the clientâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s programmatic needs as well as relevant contextual influences, three concepts were identified, and acted as guiding principles throughout the design process. These guiding principles are:

1. Connections to Nature: The architecture should support the goal of facilitating memorable experiences for its users.

2. Honoring the Landscape: The architecture is secondary to the landscape within which it resides.

3. Education and Efficiency: Architecture must respond appropriately to the operational and financial needs of CUSP.

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SITE MASTER PLAN:

STUDY SKETCHES

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SITE MASTER PLAN:

PROPOSED DESIGN

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The master plan consists of a campus-style approach with multiple separate buildings. These multiple buildings define outdoor spaces while promoting opportunities for users to directly experience the surrounding landscape.

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SITE MASTER PLAN:

PRESERVING VIEWSHEDS

RESPONDING

SHELTERING FROM THE WIND

TO

SITE CONDITIONS

AXIAL APPROACH

The master plan is influenced by three primary site conditions, which are very strong winds, dramatic views, and access from the southwest. The design directly responds to these conditions by attempting to create a design that preserves the most significant viewsheds, creates exterior spaces that are sheltered from the prevailing winds, and responds to the southwestern site access.

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SITE MASTER PLAN:

PHASED CONSTRUCTION

Given CUSPâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s status as a non-profit organization, budget and affordability are a important concerns. The utilization of a campus-style design lends itself to a simple phased construction approach as illustrated above. The construction may begin with the primary multipurpose building, and additional buildings may be constructed as additional funding becomes available.

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EDUCATION CENTER:

FLOOR PLAN

KITCHEN

BUFFET

STORAGE COURTYARD

MULTI-PURPOSE SPACE

STUDY

MEN WOMEN

ENTRY

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EDUCATION CENTER:

SCALE

In order to respect the surrounding landscape, and to avoid dominating their surroundings, buildings have been designed to maintain a relatively low profile. Additionally, to create a comfortable environment for the centerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s primary users (children), interior spaces have been designed on a human scale, avoiding very large volumes of space, and instead attempting to create spaces that more intimate and focused.

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EDUCATION CENTER:

SCALE

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EDUCATION CENTER:

ELEVATIONS

EAST ELEVATION

SOUTH ELEVATION

WEST ELEVATION

NORTH ELEVATION

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EDUCATION CENTER:

MATERIALS

Corrugated metal roofing

Glulam or salvaged timbers, natural stain finish















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Board and batt siding with â&#x20AC;&#x153;weatheredâ&#x20AC;? gray stain

In respect for the surrounding landscape, the design utilizes rustic, natural materials with muted finishes. These finishes not only reflect the character of the vernacular architecture of the region, but they also draw from the soft grays, browns, and reds within the landscape of Park County.

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1. Small, Framed Views Within the primary lecture space, panoramic views would likely be distracting. Instead, small, framed views of the landscape provide a more controlled visual connection. 2. Larger, Dramatic Views The study are in the multipurpose room provides a place for smaller groups or individuals to gather, while enjoying a panoramic view of the Mosquito Range to the west. 3. Interior / Exterior Connections

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The northeast corner of the multipurpose room opens to the adjacent courtyard, providing a direct indoor/outdoor connection during favorable weather.

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REFLECTIONS:

PROCESSING FEEDBACK....

The exploration and design of this project has provided many unique challenges, but has also been an extremely enjoyable and rewarding process. A very interesting lesson learned was the fact that the attempt to design a relatively simple and efficient building is in some ways far more complicated and challenging than one might ever expect. For me, the greatest challenge of this project was the attempt to find the appropriate balance in the blending of a relatively simple concept with the correct amount of variation and complexity so that the final design is not only clear, simple, and efficient, but also unique to its site and the programmatic needs of the client. As often seems to be the case, there are things that, if time allowed, could be changed. This is especially true after receiving very constructive feedback from the studioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s final design review. The following are some items which, if time allowed, might be improved.

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Intermediate Interior/Exterior Space: A greater amount of functional exterior space that is sheltered from the elements, such as a covered porch may assist in blending the boundary between indoors and outdoors, while providing greater opportunities for users to connect to the landscape.

Parking: The parking area may benefit from being divided into a number of smaller lots, rather than the single large lot provided here. This would reinforce the overall concept of the master plan in which the indoor program was broken into a number of smaller buildings, while also reducing the visual impact of the vehicles.

Kitchen: As designed, the kitchen does not provide its users with the same connection to the outdoors as in other areas of the design. One solution to this may be to move equipment to the interior of the space, freeing up exterior walls for larger windows and greater views of the exterior.

Multi-Purpose Space: Given the variety of uses of the multi-purpose space, the ability to divide the space has not been adequately addressed. There is some implied division of space between the study and the adjacent multi-purpose space, but this is insufficient. The solution, whether physical barriers, implied divisions of space, or a combination of the two, would have to be carefully designed so as not to be an overbearing physical element within the space. Whatever the solution, it should be simple, elegant, ,and functional.

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Krain Ranch Documentation - Thomas Berry  

Design Documentation for Krain Ranch Environmental Educaiton Center

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