Anyone brave enough to hike the 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail deserves to have a beautiful place to stop and reflect on nature's wonders. At least, that's the thinking behind Brooks + Scarpa Architects' stunning design for the Vasquez Rocks Nature and Interpretive Center in Agua Dulce. A 3,000 square foot building located in California's high desert, this design is intended to be visually comparative to its awesome natural surroundings. And it's also super efficient thanks to a series of passive design strategies.
Brooks + Scarpa rely on intelligent orientation in order to maximize the building’s energy performance. The project is oriented to block out the harsh summer sun while simultaneously permiting the low winter sun to enter. This alone ensures that the building will require less energy to cool it in the summer and heat it in the winter. Finally, the slanted roof not only harvests rainwater but also protects the interior from direct sunlight. If we’re hiking the PCT anytime soon, we’d love to see this along the way.