Forest Service Ranger Station
Situated in the Antelope Valley along the Western edge of the Mojave Desert, this LEED Gold certified ranger station provides office and administrative space for the US Forest Service’s Santa Clara/Mojave Rivers Ranger District. As a public agency building, the Ranger Station is designed to accommodate staff personnel and visitors while maintaining both security and a sense of openness. The station adapts to its desert climate with a narrow 40-foot floor plate that provides optimal day-lighting and cross-ventilation throughout the space. Deep roof overhangs and roller shades shelter the interior from harsh direct sunlight while openable windows along the north and south walls permit air circulation through the largely open office areas. Major spaces in the building have two sources of natural light, and the open central office area is an airy workspace.
Materials were selected in response to the combined demands of image, longevity, energy efficiency, structural performance, and livability. Earth-hued walls invoke traditional desert materials like rammed earth and adobe, but are in fact high performance concrete made with locally-sourced cement and aggregate. In addition to its aesthetic quality and connection to the local environment, the concrete provides considerable thermal mass, instrumental to the building’s passive temperature regulation. King Post trusses span large interior spaces to result in unobstructed spaces while their laminated natural wood contributes to the project’s warm aesthetic. Like other elements of the building, they are optimized on multiple levels to best meet the client’s aesthetic, structural, environmental, and durability goals.
The building's long, horizontal orientation mirrors the expansiveness of the Southern California landscape, and natural variations of the earth-toned concrete give it a distinctive hue and texture that fit comfortably among the mottled reds and browns of the surrounding desert.