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News: 11/01/2019

Bouverie Preserve selects design firm to move forward with fire rebuild

Two years after the Nuns Fire burned through the Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen, damaging facilities and burning down Gilman Hall, the preserve’s iconic visitors center, and two staff houses, Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR) has hired Siegel & Strain Architects to help guide them in rebuilding the 535-acre property across the highway from Sonoma Valley Regional Park.

“ACR chose Siegel & Strain because of their impressive track record of innovative and functional design, creative solutions for indoor/outdoor flow, sensitive handling of site and cultural history, and deep commitment to framing a vision that is uniquely ACR’s,” said an ACR statement.

Siegel & Strain, headquartered in Emeryville, is an award-winning sustainable design firm with projects that range from institutional and historic to housing and residential.

Siegel & Strain’s master plan process for this project has already begun and over the next four months will include listening sessions and workshops to gather the necessary feedback from ACR directors, volunteers, staff, regional leaders and others in the ACR community.

Although the preserve sustained damage in 2017, for the past two years, ACR’s education programs on the preserve have continued to operate at 80 percent of pre-fire capacity, thanks to its group of dedicated stewardship volunteers, education docents, and preserve staff who have put in hundreds of hours on daunting and dirty tasks – clearing hazard trees, replacing bridges, recreating educational tools – with the singular purpose of bringing school kids back on the land.

Last month, the preserve celebrated another milestone as 10 members of its staff returned to work on the preserve after a two-year hiatus in rented office space nearby. Additionally, David Bouverie’s house, which sustained fire damage, but was saved from completely burning by the actions of quick-thinking staff and neighbors, has been repaired and repurposed to support the preserve’s administrative needs while still retaining the graceful spaces, original aged-glass windows and special architectural touches. The house now stands as a cornerstone for the new facilities – and eliminates the need for those workstations in future development.

ACR expects that the Bouverie Preserve facilities master plan will not only provide practical solutions to its operational needs, but also serve as an example of responsible green building and be a nexus for collaboration, healing, and continued nature education.

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