WSA works with the Botanic Gardens Leadership to create a unique facility in an Historic Context.
DENVER BOTANIC GARDENS CHATFIELD FARMS (DBGCF)
EARL J. SINNAMON CENTER – NEW FACILTY Jefferson County, Colorado
Wong Strauch Architects was asked by DBGCF Leaders to develop a small facility near the ‘entry’ to the historic Hildebrand Ranch at the Chatfield Farms property. The original scope was a small office facility with a lobby to greet guests to the farm. Although no specific site was selected initially, it was though that a good location would be near the historic 1883 Deer Creek school and park restroom facilities, as well as adjacent to the parking area.
WSA worked closely with DBG Leaders and Chatfield leaders to work on a unique design that would begin to develop a ‘center’ for the 700-acre complex. It was determined that the schoolhouse should remain the primary focus of the area, with the Sinnamon Center positioned to the northeast, visually connected to the patron but complementary to the School. A renovation to the restrooms and a directional pergola was constructed to connect the overflow parking and buildings together in a cohesive manner.
While designing the facility, it was determined that the view to the school, the outdoor amphitheater, the creek and Hildebrand Ranch should be highlighted to visitors, volunteers and employees, so a large porch surrounding three sides became the primary design element. The building grew in size, with a fully modern interior with many typical ‘era’ concepts, including a centralized brick fireplace dominating the public areas. Vaulted ceilings and contemporary lighting allow for museum displays, meetings and events, as well as a reception and sales area. Offices are behind the public spaces, allowing for better control and operations of the expansive gardens.
The massing and scale of the building is respectful of the Hildebrand Ranch buildings and School, with a mixture of architectural elements incorporated into the design. This was achieved by utilizing a variety of roof slopes, two different architectural styles, details and colors borrowed from the historic ranch buildings, making the building feel as if it has always been there and added on to several times, typical of a ranch building of that era. A ‘witches hat’ tower was added at the corner, creating a special iconic element both inside and outside of the building.
A firepit was added to the exterior gathering area, inviting guests to just relax outdoors or hold a reception for an important function.
By working closely with the Botanic Gardens, WSA created a unique and special facility that meets all of the programmatic needs the Farms, while creating a special place, interior and exterior, that expresses the one-of-a-kind place Chatfield is.