Benjamin Fuglevand

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Sitka Sedge Visitors Center : A light-on-the-land complex that welcomes guests to the Oregon Coast’s newest State Natural Area and Teaching Farm Imagined as the gateway to a newly created state natural area on Oregon’s Pacific Coast, the Sitka Sedge Visitors Center is a working complex focused on education and farming research.

Designed with net zero standards in mind, the buildings are solar powered, passively cooled, and employ both rainwater capture and grey water treatment. Elevated above the landscape on concrete foundation piers, the building’s two low, linear forms are composed of a series of glulam A-frames and enclosed via wood rain screen and storefront glazing systems. The complex is assembled around two pavilions. The larger Sitka Pavilion houses the visitor center and conference hall as well as upper level administrative offices. The smaller Farm Pavilion - anchored by a central fireplace - is designed to serve as an outdoor classroom and research lab in support of the teaching farm directly adjacent. The buildings are staggered in the landscape with the offset between the two acting as both entry to the site’s extensive network of boardwalks and as link between the two buildings and the farm beyond.

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The first poster for this submission details the original design of the project completed during a studio term. The second poster extends the work of that original studio by diving deeper into the passive cooling strategies of the building and testing its design in a more extreme climate on the East side of the Oregon Cascades. During this phase of the design, extensive calculations were done on the building to test its potential for a number of passive cooling strategies including stack ventilation, night ventilation of mass, roof ponds, and other approaches.

Ultimately the Sitka Pavilion’s design was improved with the augmentation of shading and glazing locations and the addition of two large cool towers to the public spaces. Attention was paid to the experience of these cool towers and the way in which they could be made features of the interior space rather than just system components.

Jury Comments:
- A modern, approach to farming, and teaching. Simple structure, formal response to climate, very believable in its execution and research. Energy modeling provides the designer with validation of design process and goals set for this work.

- A wonderfully developed scheme; well thought out and with a compelling brief. Excellent backup data and analysis too.