The State of Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife operates the Buck Lake Camp in Woodbury, Vermont as one of their Green Mountain Conservation Camps. The youth summer camps provide a number of hands-on nature programs and hunter firearm safety. Nestled deep in the woods, it is the only development on the pristine 39-acre Buck Lake. Maclay Architects was hired to design a new dining hall and education center to replace the existing hall.
Careful siting of the building preserved existing trees as much as possible and ensured minimal visibility from the nearby lake. At the same time, the design sought to maximize views and connection out to nature. Extensive screens offer campers fresh air and views to the surrounding woods. The building design and material selections prioritized security, low cost, and durability. The structure features manufactured trusses, standard framing connections, exposed wall framing, and exposed rafters, which reduce cost, but also help create gracious spaces and a rustic aesthetic. The local white cedar shiplap siding features a custom profile, while a corrugated metal base below protects it from decay. Inside, hinged counterweighted hatches with exposed mechanisms are both playful and functional, providing protection from rain and off-season security. A large fireplace features local stone, and integrates wood storage and a bench.
The new building features a full commercial kitchen, servery, restrooms, and both indoor and covered outdoor dining spaces to meet the programmatic needs of the camp. The flexible, open spaces can accommodate a number of uses, while maintaining the natural setting and rustic aesthetic of the camp.