Nestled on a hill overlooking a small lake, Wildwood Hills Ranch greets kids with a familiarity that is Iowan. Two shed forms come together—reminiscent of a collection of agrarian farm buildings so common to this area of quiet century farms—which remain checked by non-tillable interludes. The program is simple: space to house and feed campers. The challenge is to connect the campers to the beauty of the place, the serenity of the rural landscape and always consider the beneficial connectivity of good social behavior and the potential dangers of poor behavior.
Materiality is kept simple, both in keeping with the existing camp vernacular and to meet the budget needs of a pro-bono project, where donated material and manpower is highly valued and necessary. Of utmost importance was the functionality of the design for camper care. The first floor purposely does not connect with the first floor inside the building in an effort to keep campers together and increase camper visibility. It allows staff to focus more on their raison d’etre: to transform lives and strengthen communities.
Location: St. Charles, IA
Program: Camp Lodge
Area: 9,370 SF
Client: Venter Spooner
Photo Credits: Cameron Campbell, Integrated Studio