Boylston, MA

Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary

Scope/Solutions

As a gateway to the expansive forty-five acre sanctuary, the Trailhead House offers visitors an opportunity to learn about the area’s woodlands and wildlife.  Given the sanctuary’s focus on preserving the natural environment, the project team designed the building with an exposed structure and natural wood cladding that impresses guests while blending in with the surrounding habitat.  SGH designed the structure and consulted on the building enclosure.

Since the structure is exposed throughout the building, we carefully selected member shapes and detailed connections to achieve DSK’s vision for the building’s aesthetics.  Highlights of the structural design include the following:

  • Creative wood framing for a feature Tree Room roof consisting of closely-spaced dimensional-lumber purlins crossing over engineered timber rafters, allows the framing to act as a two-way system
  • Engineered lumber combined with strategically located steel members permits long spans and large exterior overhangs of the roof high above the Tree Room gathering space below
  • Carefully placed “trees” in the Tree Room constructed from a steel core and clad in lumber taken from actual trees felled on site to make space for the building
  • Two types of custom-detailed, built-up steel columns minimize steel sizes, allow for simpler connections between the structure and the enclosure, and avoid the feeling of imposing steel framing
  • Complex structural layout with numerous transitions at changes in function or changes in framing direction
  • Three different types of lateral-load-resisting systems work in concert to support the design’s structural, functional, and visual requirements

Project Summary

completion-date

2014

Completion Date
construction-value

5M

Construction Value
certification

LEED

Certification
award-winner

Award

Winner
Solutions
New Construction
Services
Structures
Markets
Culture & Entertainment
Client(s)
DSK | Dewing Schmid Kearns Architects + Planners
Specialized Capabilities
Building Design

Key team members

Erik Farrington
Erik Farrington
Associate Principal
Pedro Sifre
Pedro Sifre
Senior Principal