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Camp Paint Rock

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Site: Ranch, Hyattville, Wy. Scope: 16 buildings clustered around the mouth of a canyon, including boys' and girls' cabins, a dining hall, director's house, counselors' lodge and stable. Buzz: Featured in Architectural Record and The Architectural Review.
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  • Camp Paint Rock
    Hyattville, Wyoming
  • The dramatic setting for this unusual project is a 110,000-acre private ranch innorth-central Wyoming,replete with steep canyons, tall mesas, rushing streams. The Alm Foundation, aprivate Los Angeles charity, commissioned Charles Rose Architects to build a camp in thisrugged terrain for teen-agers from inner-city Los Angeles. There are 16 buildings in all--clusteredaround the mouth of a canyon— including boys’ and girls’ cabins, a dining hall,director’s house, counselors’ lodge and stable.

    PaintRock’s design seeks to harness the dramatic scale, power and beauty of theWestern landscape. Building forms echo the geology and natural forms of thelandscape. The roof ofthe dining hall, for example, is partly inspired by geologic fault lines; thefissures create openings for views up the canyon walls and allow in naturallight. Many of the structures werebuilt on steel platforms and stilts that burrow into the canyon’s steep walls.Decks, lookouts and sliding barnlike doors open these light, primitivebuildings to the skies and sweeping views. The buildings, with their metalroofs, appear as glinting shards in the bright western sun. Together, theycreate a kind of neatly fractured community. Each building standsindependently but connects through a series of pathways and bridges, which inturn reinforces through design the campus philosophy of self-reliance andleadership within an interdependent community.

    Writingin All American: Innovation in American Architecture (Thames &Hudson), Brian Carter and Annette Lecuyer say of Paint Rock: “Sensitive to the differing ground patterns,it recalls the camp established by Frank Lloyd Wright at Ocotillo, successfullycapturing the sense of those first moments of settlement and a tentativeoccupation of the land.” Completed in 2001, Paint Rock has received several othertributes, including an American Architecture Award, Boston Society ofArchitects HonorAward for Design Excellence, American Wood Council National Honor Award and an ID MagazineDesign Award.

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