Camp Newman

On the night of October 8, 2017, Camp Newman, a beloved Jewish summer camp in the Mayacama Mountains, burned to the ground in the Tubbs fire along with much of the city of Santa Rosa. Recognizing that climate changes are lengthening California’s wildfire season and shortening our fire return intervals, Camp Newman’s rebuild and future stewardship is guided by fire-wise land-use.

We were hired to create a site development plan to redesign the campus for over 700 campers and/or retreat guests in a manner that would reflect Camp Newman’s goals of community building, fire resilience and ecological restoration. An integral part of the master plan was a Fire Adaptation Plan, created in consultation with UC Berkeley professor Joe McBride, which focused on forest management as the most effective tool for living with fire, complemented by fire-resilient design and emergency fire preparedness.

The rebuilt facilities at Camp Newman would serve as both a summer camp and a year-round retreat center. Common facilities, including a dining hall, community center, infirmary, and program buildings, would be grouped together and surrounding residential satellite villages would serve campers and retreat guests, depending on the season.

The plan is organized around a common open space system that knits everything together internally and integrates the site with its ecological setting. The hilly campus is fully accessible. The ecologically-based site design features grassy meadows, riparian and oak woodlands, a daylit creek and bioswales. Strategically placed plazas structure site circulation and provide space for outdoor programs, dances, and community gatherings while also serving as an integral part of the fire protection infrastructure.

Location

Santa Rosa, CA

Size

25 acres – core development area, 450 acres – total property

Completed

2019 Master Plan and Fire Adaptation Plan, 2021 Community Center

Client

Camp Newman URJ

Team

Siegel + Strain (Architecture)
Oberkamper (Civil)
Pieter Colanbrander (MEP)
Joe McBride (Forestry Fire Consultant)

Scope

Community Engagement + Concept Design to Construction Documentation

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