The McDonald and Paul M. Dunn Research Forest contains two radically different forest management strategies. One represents the concept of the forest as resource; the other of the forest as sanctuary. This project endeavors to bridge the gap between these two fundamentally opposed ideals to demonstrate the value and necessity of both and present a holistic view of the modern forest. Therefore, the architectural intervention of a conference center is used to unite the industrial and the recreational; the orderly and the wild; the ephemeral and the enduring; the utilitarian and the consecrated.
Sited at a critical junction between these two forest management strategies, this projects creates a connection between the forest as sanctuary and the forest as resource. The campus expands around the shoulder of a hill which faces a recreational, old-growth forest to the East, and a commercially logged, industrial forest to the West. Program is arranged according to its relation with the ideal of forest as sanctuary, and forest as resource. At a center of this junction between sanctuary and resource is a hearth, which unites users from both groups around a communal fire-pit and mantle. The hearth is carved into the ground and defined by a series of community buildings to create and inwardly focused and protected space.