Architect Arkin Tilt Architects

Hidden Villa is an environmental education foundation sited on a bucolic farm and wilderness preserve in the coastal hills between San Francisco and San Jose. For the past 75 years, the foundation has engaged visitors in innovative, hands-on outdoor education programs, including a demonstration organic farm, a summer camp, and a youth hostel since 1937 (the oldest hostel west of the Mississippi).

The new hostel facility brings the playful, educative, community-oriented spirit of Hidden Villa to structures that harmonize with the site's agrarian past. Constrained in a narrow canyon by the sacred climbing tree to the west and by existing cabins to the east, the new structures hug the northern slope, maximizing winter sun and reestablishing the visual connection up-canyon through a series of courtyards. The dining hall, the literal and figurative heart of both programs, can expand into the screen porch via large bifold doors that incorporate windows and doors reused from the original hostel. A large dormer captures low winter sun while permitting natural ventilation. Concrete floors and a rammed-earth wall along the north mediate extreme temperatures as well as heat from the kitchen. A ground-source geothermal heat pump supplies the radiant-floor system as well as preheating for hot water.

The design represents a delicate balance between the simplicity of a barn, the sophistication of careful energy modeling, and a tumble of ad-hoc shacks that typ-

The new Hidden Villa Youth Hostel and Summer Camp brings the playful, educative, community-oriented spirit of Hidden Villa to structures that harmonize with the site's agrarian past.

At this youth hostel and summer camp, concrete floors and a rammedearth wall along the north mediate extreme temperatures as well as heat from the kitchen.

At this youth hostel and summer camp, concrete floors and a rammedearth wall along the north mediate extreme temperatures as well as heat from the kitchen.

ify summer camp. A threshold between the natural and built environment, the facility demonstrates how one's living affects nature: the buildings have become part of the educational experience at Hidden Villa.

Jury Comments: "This dining hall, kitchen, and staff quarters serves as the new center for an existing assemblage of small camp buildings in a secluded, Bay area wilderness farm. The modest syntax of recycled and sustainably harvested wood incorporates a number of low-tech strategies that provide rustic comforts while moderating summer heat; the site water strategies reduce consumption and runoff."

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