Architect / Firm: Siegel & Strain Architects
This new public community project reworks an historic homestead and an established community garden into a unique neighborhood park. New Community Hall and Environmental Education buildings frame a central garden that connects the street to the heart of the park.
Many activity spaces branch out from this central garden. A traditional kiosko anchors a large recreational lawn to the east. An open-air Pavilion with an outdoor kitchen to the north is positioned to support the existing community garden and historic barn. Play and skateboard areas to the south provide much needed neighborhood recreational space.
The buildings are designed to be mindful of the site’s rural history, current use, and climate. They shape and engage their surroundings for indoor/outdoor activities. Deep overhangs, porches, covered walkways and wood screens shade outdoor gathering spaces and temper the buildings in the summer. Rainwater collected from roofs is stored in galvanized tanks for garden irrigation.
This new public community project is designed as a unique destination for an underserved neighborhood in Santa Rosa. An historic homestead is re-envisioned as a community park designed to support and expand a thriving community garden and on-site agricultural and environmental programs.
The Central Garden, framed by a Community Hall and Environmental Education Building, features heritage trees that shaded the old farmhouse. This landscaped plaza connects the street to the heart of the new park with a bio-swale that meanders down the middle.
Many outdoor activity areas branch out from the Central Garden. A traditional kiosko, similar to those found in Latin-American plazas, is set in a plaza anchoring a large recreational lawn to the east. The Pavilion to the north is positioned to support the existing community gardens. Farm-inspired play areas for young children, an adventure playground for older children and a skateboard park populate the south edge of the park along a seasonal wetland.
The new buildings are designed to be mindful of the site’s rural history, current use and climate. They all have a strong connection to the outdoors and actively engage their surroundings for indoor/outdoor use. Deep overhangs, large porches and covered walkways provide shaded places to stroll, gather and catch up with neighbors while tempering the buildings in the summer heat.
The Community Hall houses a large dividable multi-use room for events and classes from quinceañeras to afterschool programs. Porches and deep roof extensions, supported by tree-like posts and brackets, wrap around the building along the central garden allowing the outdoors to flow right into the buildings. Benches built into the exterior walls offer places to sit in the shade and take in the garden, park, and street. The east end of the Community Hall opens towards the kiosko and gathering plaza.
The Environmental Education Center, a two-story structure, houses a non-profit environmental education organization and administrative offices for the park. A covered porch facing the street serves as an outdoor environmental education classroom that opens to the Central Garden on one side, the Community Gardens on the other and an exhibit area and conference/classroom room inside the building.
The Pavilion is an open-air structure with a large covered gathering area and an outdoor kitchen that opens to the patio with sliding barn doors. The Pavilion is a venue for large community meals and programs on gardening, food preparation and nutrition.
Sustainable strategies are based on analysis of climate, sun path and an appreciation of vernacular strategies. Deep overhangs, shading louvers plus a high-performing building envelope help keep the buildings cool and daylit, lessening the demand and size of mechanical and electrical systems. Cisterns collect rainwater from roofs to irrigate the gardens. The Community Hall’s south-facing roof is ideal for a future photovoltaic array.
Exterior building materials are selected for maximum durability and minimum environmental impact. Painted fiber-cement board and batten siding connects to local barn vernacular. Exterior plaster walls on the secondary volumes of the main buildings provide great locations for painted murals.
Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey (RHAA) and
Civil: BKF Engineers
Structural: ZFA Structural Engineers
Mechanical Engineer: Affiliated Engineers Inc.