The Nature Conservancy of Utah is developing an interpretive site along the Great Salt Lake to inform donors and visitors of the rapid loss and importance of critical wetland habitats. Visitors drive a gravel road onto the wetlands, entering through an arched gateway. A large, trestle-wood pavilion, with fan-shaped roofs, provides a gathering space and an interior series of curved exhibits embrace the upright piles.
Sea Reach wanted the exhibit design to complement the wetland in all seasons. Rounded, curved, bent, and twisted elements are combined to create organic shapes that mimic the patterns of grasses, reeds, and water. The color palette is compiled from the surrounding wetlands in all seasons. The overriding impetus was to create an experience where design is inexorably tied to the natural environment. In some cases, this is so effective that visitors may not see the exhibits until they are within a few feet of them.
"This interpretative program sits lightly upon the environment. Using natural materials and forms that reflect the shapes of nature, the signage program acknowledges a reverence for nature and the sense that humankind is a part of nature and should live with nature in a sensitive and honorable way. The detailing of the structures and sign supports reflects a handmade quality with a deep respect for the natural materials being used. The photographs and graphic images are expressive and beautiful. The written commentary is simple, straightforward and informative. Most importantly, the project enhances the experience and understanding of the natural environment without in any way trying to upstage it. The handmade details and the use of natural materials, many from the site, are done in an elegant and simple manner. They reflect, in their own simplicity, the purity of nature's design in the plants and animals that inhabit the site."
Susan Jurasz (Principal in Charge), Peter Reedijk (Senior Designer)
James Bach & Associates Landscape Architect
Sea Reach Ltd.