United Charities celebrated its one hundredth year of activity in and around Chicago by developing an activities center in its Camp Algonquin. A camp for battered urban children (and their parents), this facility offers an authentic camping experience combined with appropriate counseling.
The design solution is motivated by a desire to upgrade an existing (albeit under-maintained) lodge at the head of a lawn sloping down to, and facing, the Fox River. The notion of expanding upon, and modifying the existing facility through permuting its language was the inspiration for this development. Since the original camp buildings were designed by Holabird and Root drawing upon Adirondack-like sources, it seemed fitting to build upon those sources. Thus, an arts and crafts building, as well as an “alternative living” structure are linked by common porches to programmatically expand upon outdoor counseling possibilities.
Though Jefferson’s University of Virginia campus plan helped to underwrite design attitudes, the informality of the plan juxtaposition seemed appropriate to the “camp-like” quality of the existing facility. Material selections are intended to reinforce the existing camping qualities (cedar shakes, trellis, handrails, etc).