Los Padres National Forest Ranger Station – Monterey
Monterey Ranger Station has many of the hallmarks of the missions: landscaped entry courts, walled patios, generous eaves, thick white plaster walls, and recessed windows. It even has a clay tile roof. Yet the design avoids stylistic ornamentation and instead looks at space, light, and landscape as the primary experiential definers of the architecture. Special attention was paid to making simple, well-lit, comfortable spaces with views to gardens and patios. The straw bale, with its thermal mass and exceptional insulating capacity, helped us achieve a high performance building envelope that regulates internal temperatures. Straw bale is also a waste product, and the use of this material for construction aligned with the Forest Service’s resource management goals. Only minimal-high efficiency HVAC systems were needed to provide for thermal comfort year-round.