Thursday, February 21, 2013

Renovated Camp Beech Cliff Reintroduces Kids to Nature

Camp Beech Cliff is a non-profit educational and recreational summer day camp on Mount Desert Island in Maine. With incredible views toward Acadia National Park and waterfront cabins sitting on Echo Lake, the camp encompasses 50 scenic acres of undulating terrain. The camp's mission is to foster healthy physical and social growth of children by providing fun outdoor education experiences. The goal of the renovation was to rebuild the entire infrastructure of the camp, providing modern and safe camping facilities for up to 120 children.

Renovations included all new program cabins that accommodate boating, swimming, archery, science and nature, performing arts, and arts and crafts. Additional cabins provide staff housing, administration, and maintenance. A central community building houses an indoor climbing wall and a full basketball court. The infrastructure for the camp was completely revamped. Extensive walk and road improvements were implemented, including a prefabricated boardwalk that connects three waterfront cabins.

The overarching goal of the landscape design was to create an environment that will immerse the campers in a true nature experience. The landscape incorporates large boulders, which were uncovered on site. Planting throughout the camp uses primarily indigenous materials. The final design incorporates an impressive amount of materials found on site, defining a distinct vernacular for a picturesque Maine camp.

A stone amphitheater provides a gathering space for campers. An open recreation field beyond provides space for soccer and other sports and camp games. (Photo by Pressley Associates)

Sculpted landforms mimic the dramatic, rolling mountains of Mount Desert Island. (Photo by Pressley Associates)

Many of the built landscape features are constructed of natural stone, contributing to the scenic, naturalistic character seen throughout the camp. (Photo by Pressley Associates)

Large boulders were uncovered on site during construction and placed in the landscape. Stone paving complements the discovered boulders. (Photo by Pressley Associates)

Beds of indigenous plant materials break up the large swaths of stone paving. (Photo by Pressley Associates)
The form and details of the architecture work with the naturalistic stone work and plantings, creating buildings that enhance the landscape design. (Photo by Pressley Associates)

Though Camp Beech Cliff focuses on summer activities, it offers a range of programs year round. Visit their website for additional information.