Audubon Canyon Ranch Bouverie Preserve

Located near Glen Ellen in Sonoma County’s Valley of the Moon, the 500+ acre Audubon Canyon Ranch Bouverie Preserve is a landscape dominated by a diverse native ecosystem including oak woodlands, mixed evergreen forests, riparian woodlands, chaparral, grasslands, and wet meadows. The preserve is home to an incredibly rich combination of plants and animals including 130 different bird species, 350 different flowering plants, and numerous large mammals such as bobcat, gray fox, coyote, mountain lion, and an occasional black bear.

Bouverie Preserve is within the ancestral territories of the Coast Miwok, Southern Pomo, and Wappo peoples. However, the preserve takes its name from David Bouverie, a London architect who came to New York in 1933, later migrating west to the Sonoma Valley. When Bouverie passed away in 1994, ownership of the preserve was transferred to Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR), a conservation research institution that also hosts thousands of Bay Area schoolchildren and families for nature education programs and monthly adventures where they learn to observe wildlife, steward habitat, and participate in research studies.

In 2017 the Nuns Fire swept through the Sonoma Valley, burning approximately 75% of the wildlands of the preserve and destroying 7 of 9 buildings, including all of the program infrastructure on the preserve.

JNRA collaborated with Siegel & Strain Architects and the ACR staff over several years in the site planning and design of a reconceived campus with new educational and research buildings, maintenance facilities, and associated outdoor amenities and trail connections. Site developments for the new facility would include: renovated and expanded entry driveway and parking to meet current fire codes and projected visitation; bus drop-off; accessible pathways between parking and building; outdoor gathering areas, gardens, circulation, and related site improvements at the building; trail connections to Preserve trails and the Bouverie campus; and emergency service access.

After much debate about the appropriate extent of rehabilitation and public access in this unique wildland, the design team was tasked with the more modest design of a new roofed open-air gathering facility in lieu of rebuilding a large environmental education campus.  The pavilion would be flexibly designed to serve the volunteer activities and children’s education programs and would be located within the footprint of destroyed building at a prominent hillside site at the edge of oak woodlands with panoramic views across the valley and proximity to the forests and wildflower meadows at the core of the campus. Further review of the sensitive environment of the preserve, the mission of the organization, and construction cost realities resulted in additional downsizing of the project. The owners have now elected to minimize new on-site infrastructure, forgo new construction, and simply adaptively reusing the existing site facilities while managing the return to a more wildland condition.

Location

Glen Ellen, CA

Size

1.4 acre site development, within 500 + acre preserve

Client

Audubon Canyon Ranch

Team

Siegel & Strain (Architecture)
Oberkamper & Associates Civil Engineers (Civil Engineering)

Scope

Concept through Schematic

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