The Mojave Rivers Ranger Station is designed to make the most of the hash climate in the Antelope Valley on the western edge of the Mojave Desert. Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects created the facility, which helps administrative and fire personnel from the USDA Forest Service protect the area while encouraging residents to enjoy the environment. The LEED Gold administrative office features a number of green building strategies to minimize energy use despite the hot climate, while a building-integrated photovoltaic system generates electricity.
The Mojave Rivers Ranger Station was designed to convey the Forest Service’s conservation roots and the work it does to protect the land. Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects came up with a plan that would help blend the district headquarters in with the surrounding desert environment while minimizing energy use and maintaining a comfortable indoor climate. The project is a low, single-story building with a narrow 40′ wide floor plate that floods the open plan office with natural light from both sides. Inverted king-post trusses are central to the airy volume of the interior spaces, and wood finishes make the space pleasant and inviting. Operable windows on both sides allow for cross ventilation during more moderate times of the year.
The building itself is constructed with earth-colored concrete that is reminiscent of rammed earth and adobe walls. While these traditional materials are very eco-friendly, the design team chose a special, seismic-resistant reinforced concrete with a low CO2 content sourced from a local quarry. This also provides a large thermal mass to collect and dissipate heat throughout the day. Large overhangs and a shaded patio on the south side protect the interior from direct sun. The building also features a roof-mounted photovoltaic thin-film system, high-performance glass, and a geothermal ground source heat pump system. Drought tolerant landscaping blends the site in with the desert, and lightly colored paving reduces the heat island effect. Since its completion in 2011, the project has received LEED Gold certification and achieved an energy performance 26.5% better than Title 24 baseline without sacrificing any performance in comfort, habitability, or function.
Images ©John Edward Linden