Camp Ridgecrest and Camp Crestridge – Master Plans and Architecture
- Name: Camp Ridgecrest and Camp Crestridge – Master Plans and Architecture
- Location: Ridgecrest, NC
- sector: Camps & Retreat Centers,
- service: Architecture, Master Planning,
- status: Complete
- Size: 1300 acres (both camps) / 6,500 sq. ft. Administration Office Building / 19,440 sq. ft. Dining Hall / 4,950 sq. ft. Chapel
Situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, Camp Ridgecrest for Boys and Camp Crestridge for Girls offer unique Christian wilderness and adventure experiences to campers aged 7–17. In 2013, the two camps sought to build on their success by setting an ambitious goal to double their annual guest intake. We were asked to help the camps achieve this goal by creating two new Master Plans. We also helped implement each plan by providing architectural services on a number of key buildings and renovations.
Both Master Plans were developed over seven months in close collaboration with the Camp’s Master Planning Team, the camp staff, and the Design Team’s civil engineering consultant. The Master Planning process was broken down into different stages: programming, site and facility assessment, conceptual design, master planning, schematic utility design, and architectural concepts. Our early collaboration with the contractor and civil engineer proved successful as we saved both camps money in key areas by ensuring the designs could be built and achieved from the outset.
New cabins needed to be built at both camps to meet their increased capacity goals. We also found that flat, open green spaces were limited, and that circulation around both camps needed to be reconsidered due to steep inclines and limited accessibility. It was critical that all campers could access common spaces easily and come together for dining, chapel activities, and gatherings.
Camp-specific requirements were also established. Camp Ridgecrest’s Administration Office Building needed renovation, its rainy-day program spaces needed to be developed, and its council ring enlarged. Similarly, we needed to expand Camp Crestridge’s Dining Hall and Chapel, relocate its Equestrian Program, and create an Aquatics Center. As existing design features, lakes were central to both camps and were used to connect otherwise isolated areas of the camps, as well as provide focal points for users. We sought to enhance the lakes’ central roles, and use them to further establish a ‘single camp feel.’
To meet the needs of accommodating twice as many campers, each camp’s Master Plan proposed the expansion of operational and program facilities. These would ultimately provide architectural services to execute the expansion of the facilities at each camp. Ridgecrest’s Administration Office Building was redesigned and expanded to create a more welcoming arrival experience, as well as provide more offices and workspaces, a large conference room for camp staff, and a camp store. The existing parking area in front of the Administration Office Building was redesigned to create a new Camp Commons hardscape: a meeting and play area with sport and activity courts, shade sails, and a new deck overlooking the lake. Camp Crestridge was similarly developed with an expanded Dining Hall, Chapel, and Amphitheater.
Since completing the architectural services, we have presented this project alongside the Camp at a number of camp conferences. Our ongoing relationship is important to us, and we continue to work with the Camp, updating the Existing Conditions Plans and providing architectural and planning services when needed.