Preston Outdoor Education Station Elmdale, Kansas YMCA Camp Wood Building, US Architecture Design Images
Preston Outdoor Education Station, Elmdale
Contemporary Architecture in Tallgrass Prairie, KS, USA – design by KSU Design+Make Studio, Architects
Aug 23, 2017
Preston Outdoor Education Station in Tallgrass Prairie, Kansas
Design: KSU Design+Make Studio
Location: Tallgrass Prairie, Kansas, United States of America
Preston Outdoor Education Station, Elmdale, Kansas
Preston Outdoor Education Station is part of YMCA’s Camp Wood, located west of Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, in the heart of the Tallgrass Prairie.
Stretching from southern Nebraska to central Oklahoma in a fifty-mile wide vertical band, this landscape represents 4% of the original Tallgrass Prairie and is considered one of the most endangered ecosystems in North America.
Camp Wood celebrated its Centennial anniversary in 2016, cementing its legacy of high quality outdoor education for youth throughout Kansas.
The graduate level Design+Make Studio at Kansas State University was asked to develop an infrastructural backdrop to assist counselors in their work of connecting young people to this beautiful, yet subtle landscape.
The two requirements for the project were: 1) the project must survive the annual prairie burns and 2) the work must disappear into the landscape.
The fall semester was spent understanding the complexities of the client and opportunities of the site, responding iteratively with a range of design ideas.
Students also engaged in a methodical process acquiring the skills necessary to execute the project, learning welding, carpentry and traditional limestone masonry.
The studio used the spring to assemble drawings, prototypes, pricing and to execute the project itself.
What began as a simple shade structure evolved into a flexible, programmable experiential backdrop, 1,300 linear feet of trail system integrated into the site with five education stations along the way designed to connect visitors to the immediate landscape.
The pathway begins with a 300-linear foot dry stacked limestone wall.
Each station engages the environment and locally-sourced materials to focus on essential elements of the prairie – insects, wind, stone, grass, and sky.
Managing an all-inclusive budget of $150,000, including professional consulting and subcontracted work, the project was completed in August 2016.
Preston Outdoor Education Station, Tallgrass Prairie – Building Information
Location: Elmdale, Kansas
Date built: 2016
Architects: KSU Design+Make Studio
Client: YMCA Camp Wood
General Contractor: KSU Design+Make Studio
Photographer: Mike Sinclair
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Website: Elmdale, Kansas