By: Jeremy Clow
The spring has brought many challenges with and intense load of classes in the graduate program. My thesis of course is the dominant focus and the studio is dedicated time to work and communicate with peers and professors regarding the thesis. The professional practice course and global architecture are informative lectures that increase my knowledge and understanding of the working environment. The elective course I have chosen to go along with these is a small class of five students collaborating with touch of nature. The class is a design and build course in collaboration with the sophomore level architecture students as well. The sophomore level students will be designing a series of informational kiosks to be placed along a specific trail. The four students and I in the graduate program will be designing a camp site. The first meeting with our client, Steve from Touch of Nature was two weeks ago. During the visit we took the trail that will have the kiosks installed as well as experienced the campsite from the trail head as well as a proposed trail to circle back in.
On the meeting with Steve he explained what items are necessary for his campsite to function properly. A fire ring to congregate the campers, serve as the center piece and focus of the site. The fire ring and surrounding area needs to be level for the visitors to experience all aspects in a safe and comfortable manner. Benches and types of seating for thirty five to forty people, this would include facilitators as well. A food preparation table along with lockable storage for food items to protect them from the wildlife needs to be located in close proximity to the fire as well. An additional lockable storage for fire wood to keep it protected from the elements as well as uninvited guests. A kiosk will be located at the site as well providing an informational piece on wildlife.
The site sits on a hill just north of “Rocky Ledges” a space that overlooks Little Grassy Lake. Rocky Ledges is a rock formation that provides optimal docking and swimming from the bank. A series of switchback trails will lead up the hill just west of the ledges. These trail systems provide a long lasting and environmentally friendly approach to replace the direct climb that is the current trail. Upon leaving the site a series of switchbacks are proposed to the east along a hillside ending at an “E-Loo” environmental toilet system. At the E-Loo there is an old access road that provides access for vehicles during emergency situations or loading and unloading of supplies.On our most recent visit the group and I began measuring the site and minimal ground manipulation. Eliminating the leaves and brush gathered on the site to understand the true layout of the ground was our first step. Laying a perimeter out with limbs to give some boundary to the site and visualize the overall size. Using desired trees as boundaries by staying within them, not to damage their roots our layout comes to near two hundred square feet. After digging a hole on the north side, the higher side we found out that bedrock is approximately thirty inches deep. Across the site we anticipate a cut of over twelve inches on the north with a fill on the south of just less than twelve inches. After moving some of the dirt by hand it was easier to grasp the work required and factor it in comparison to the time allowed. We have started the initial schematics of our intentions for the site. We will need a retaining wall to the south to level the usable fire pit and site. We will also have to provide a retaining wall on the north side to keep dirt from