The Highlander Research and Education Center is an active social justice organization whose roots reach back to the civil rights era. We were honored that Highlander asked us to design their new lodge. The new lodge at Highlander hosts visitors from across the US who are here to attend the organization’s workshops and retreats.
We organized the lodge with four pods in a pinwheel shape around a central community core. The bedroom pods contain cozy private bedrooms with abundant natural light and views into the surrounding woods. The central space has a community kitchen lounge and bathroom facilities. The screened porch on the entry side of the building provides more views of the woods. It also sits on the Center’s primary walking path, creating opportunities for impromptu gatherings among visitors.
It is important to Highlander that the new lodge has a welcoming, homelike feel. The lodge has vaulted ceilings in the bedrooms and living space. Skylights bring daylight to the lavatory room. The wood windows and wood floors bring warmth to the space and bright accent walls give the lodge a lighthearted touch.
Sustainable features include a highly insulated envelope, energy efficient lighting, low flow water fixtures and healthy interior materials. The lodge’s pinwheel configuration allows it to sit gently in the woods.
We limited the construction area to a small perimeter surrounding the building allowing us to protect the existing wildflowers, however we had to remove some trees for construction. The contractor and highlander staff milled and dried the wood from those trees for use on this and future building projects at Highlander. The wood accent wall in the lounge has each species of tree represented. They also made the benches in the shower and changing rooms from this wood. It is a visual reminder of Highlander Center’s commitment to sustainability.
Elizabeth Eason Architecture LLC., Architect
C2RL, Civil Engineer
Facility Systems Consultants, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing
Chad Steward and Associates, Structural Engineer
Tim McGinnis Construction