Submittal Instructions
2024 Exhibition
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# 176
Images Description Credits
Completion 6 / 2020
Specific Use of Building Interpretive Center for Educational Workshops and Integrated Dwelling
Project Location Whitewater Preserve, California
With the recent establishment of “Sand to Snow” as a National Monument, the architectural proposal enacts an anticipatory approach to the development of National Park infrastructure in Whitewater Preserve. With nearly 24 million people living within a two-hour drive, the new Monument has catalyzed a surge of visitors to the region, prompting the need for adequate facilities. Accommodating both increased demand of the site and evolution of preservation programs, the project establishes a new Interpretive Center as a landmark within Whitewater Preserve. As such, the design functions to serve dual purposes—while augmenting Southern California’s unique biodiversity and geological marvels, the landmark creates a discovery haven for hikers along the Pacific Crest Trail and a gateway for the local community that integrates, ignites, and reinvigorates human affinity for the natural environment.

The overall design operates within the duality of both “scope” and “scape,” wherein the scape of a landscape refers to the expansive scene, complemented by careful view and examination. As abstract projections upon the surrounding natural world, the proposed architecture functions to employ this methodology, establishing a series of demarcations that facilitate close observation within the expansiveness of the scape.

Organized into three distinct zones, the architectural demarcations afford oscillating experiences of elevated vistas complemented by enhanced moments of introspection. The Welcome Pavilion serves as the first formal junction between the public and rangers. Nestled within a blanket of native trees, the pavilion functions to acclimate city dwellers to the unfamiliar region by providing a sense of comfort. In conjunction with the natural enclosure of trees, the structure embraces visitors with its centripetal form and horizontal compression.

The middle zone, situated between the Pavilion and Observation Tower, serves as an engine to catalyze both curiosity and confidence. The overall form of these central workshops functions as a Peristyle of Preparation, guiding visitors from the enclosed forest to the vast expanses of the northern Tower and canyon. Beyond the role of container, the porosity introduced at ground level embraces the condition of passage, in which the participation and completion of educational programs becomes a milestone in the expedition to come. 

In relation to the Workshops and Pavilion, the verticality of the Observation Tower produces a striking contrast in both overall form and functionality. For the hiker, the tower serves as a landmark along the PCT, signifying the arrival to the next destination. For the common visitor, the tower functions as a launching point to the trails that lie ahead.

The contrasting qualities of both concrete and wood not only provide a means of construction and durability, they exemplify the essence of an architecture that is of its time and place. Whereas the use of concrete establishes a sense of fortitude, similar to the adjacent cliffs and rock, the wood contrastingly alludes to the prevalent forests in the nearby alpine region. Although strikingly different in texture, expression, and structural integrity, the integration of materials provides a harmonious and vibrant relationship.


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