Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP

Painted Turtle Camp

Lake Hughes, California

1999 - 2004

The latest of Paul Newman’s camps for children with chronic illnesses, this complex incorporates site-sensitive, sustainable design features. It is intended to provide a free camping experience for families that are not served by existing programs in Southern California.

Nestled into rolling foothills and overlooking an extensive waterscape, the camp occupies a 173-acre site, located some 35 miles from Los Angeles. In addition to residential cabins, the main buildings comprise a dining hall, a theater, an arts and crafts complex, a gymnasium, a medical building, a swimming pool, and a boathouse. Conforming to the natural topography, these units are layered into the site through subtle grading and a system of terraces cut into the landscape. While much of the natural vegetation will be maintained, the camp itself will be set up as an “oasis” encompassing wildflower meadows, orchards, and secret gardens to ensure the children a rich and rewarding camp experience.

The site and climate create an ideal setting for a sustainable architecture and environmentally sound methods and materials of construction. The buildings, which are largely of wood, incorporate natural ventilation, wind and solar power, evaporative cooling, large cantilevered roofs, and recycled materials in order to insure longevity and cost effectiveness in terms of both the initial investment and subsequent maintenance.

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