Soapstone Natural Area
City of Fort Collins
Larimer County, Colorado
$525,000; Respect for the natural environment was the guiding principle in the design of new visitor amenities for the Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, a 19,000-acre open space nestled in the High Plains prairie near the Wyoming border. Structures include an entry station, information kiosks, picnic shelters and an observation pavilion, all carefully sited and constructed to minimize the impact on the site's fragile ecosystems. The observatory is sited high above the renowned Lindenmeier archaeological dig site.
Roof forms for all of the structures emulate the sweeping vistas and soft curves of the natural landscape, using pre-weathered steel frames and untreated, riveted steel sheets to create a handcrafted, "ranching vernacular" quality. Many of the structures are built into the landscape with "eroded" sandstone walls to emulate the remnants of ranch building foundations found on the property.
Professional services included master planning and full architectural and engineering services.