Medina Lake nature retreat Bandera, Texas
Ruiz, Jaimie Bagnato
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THESIS STATEMENT Today we hear the terms environmentally friendly, sustainable architecture, green architecture, and greenhouse effect. These terms express a cultural shift away from the modem reliance of fossil ftiels for energy to heat and cool our homes and commercial buildings, towards an architecture that relies less on oil, gas, and electricity. Therefore, buildings should be more climate responsive and nature oriented to allow people and nature to interact through the use of passive-solar systems, active-solar systems, natural ventilation, and wind power. CONTEXT STATEMENT The site, the northern area of Medina Lake, is located 30 to 35 minutes west-north-west of downtown San Antonio, Texas. A suburban area scarcely populated with family dwellings, the lake serves as tiie backdrop for family outings and recreation. Lush vegetation and scenic views provide ample opportunity for the exploration and education in a natural setting that the facility will focus on. The built context is comprised of dispersed family houses and a few small businesses around the lake. FACILITY STATEMENT The facility, a Nature Retreat for school children grades third through twelve, will serve as the platform from which cliildren learn about the potential of energy conservation, and interact with nature getting first hand knowledge of the sensitivity of our environment. The facility, run by Texas Parks and Recreation in conjunction with the San Antonio School District, will be open each week Wednesday through Sunday, fifty-two weeks a year. Each Wednesday and Thursday the facility will be open during the hours of 8a.m. to 5p.m. for the 26 employees to organize the lessons and hands on experiments in preparation of the coming weekend. Every Friday at 1p.m. 40 students will be welcomed and informed as to the mission of the facility. After arriving, the facility will serve as their home until 6p.m. Sunday evening. The approximately 10,000 square feet facility will support 66 to 70 people, which includes staff and visitors, each weekend.