The Terry Trueblood Lodge and Boathouse are two parts of the four-phase Terry Trueblood Recreation Area project in Iowa City, IA. The goal of the project as a whole was to reclaim land that was once a sand and gravel quarry, which sits along the Iowa River. The project’s intent was to heal a scar in the landscape through engaging the positive features left behind by the quarrying fracas. The project featured ways to engage residents with the water….a positive feature. Trails were introduced, the boathouse brought activity to the water and the lodge featured views of the placid waters as its outdoor spaces reached into the lake as physical engagement.

The project reclaimed 207 acres of land for public use. Of which, 95.5 acres is comprised of the lake itself.

The language of the structures is intended to be familiar. The materials of stone and wood are common and easily interpreted as congruent with the natural setting. The shed roof form is speaks simply of shelter in nature, but a more complex dialect reinforces the familiar and the vernacular. The expression of components, economy of the frame and articulation of edges are perceived, but not readily defined.

The structures are a wood post and beam system with emphasis on simplicity and economy. These expressions in stone and wood are based in a familiar vernacular of park structures and an aspiration to connect with nature. The economy is further emphasized by a carefully limited palette of material and color.

The lodge is an assemblage of indoor and outdoor gathering spaces with lobby, storage, kitchen, and bathroom functions. The structure is sited on the edge of the lake and serves as the origin to the park experience.

The frame of the lodge is a clear agenda of timber frame repetition. This frame is the constant of the structure embracing gatherings inside and out. The spaces are seen as one through a common syntax. The wall planes are used as the expressions of invitations and motivations of movement. The walls are the drama woven into the drone of the structure. The stone walls serve as a threshold to the spaces while providing frame and focus. Copper walls insert through an offset in the stone wall to guide visitors to the structure. The result is a layered façade which grows out from the core structure.

The boathouse features a simplicity that is reinforced through hinged walls that imbue the building with a closed condition and an open condition. The two hinged walls, fourteen feet in width, open up the space completely to the outdoors, framing the view to the lake and signaling “open” to visitors as they enter the park. The structure is used primarily in the summer and the hinged walls provide the interior with plentiful light and ventilation, promoting comfort in an unconditioned, fully passive building. A simple system of screen vents harnesses convection and the Bernoulli Effect to stimulate cooling at the concession space.

The project is an exercise in expressing simplicity through a sophisticated assemblage and allowing a structure to be understood in a common language and more deeply understood through a dialect. The buildings reinforce the ideals of park, the beauty of nature and the goal of reclamation. They are for the people.