Camping once meant roughing it, but Girl Scouts in northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri can now earn badges without giving up modern comforts. The new Trail Center at Camp Prairie Schooner, designed by El Dorado, allows girls to camp in a natural setting while enjoying amenities such as Wi-Fi, indoor plumbing, and air conditioning. Located in a wooded area 19 miles southeast of downtown Kansas City, Mo., traversed by creeks and nature trails, the camp features two bunkhouses with kitchens, flexible spaces, a public restroom and shower facilities, accommodating up to 40 girls and eight parents or staff members.
The architects placed the two parallel, bar-shaped bunkhouses, totaling 4,430 square feet, adjacent to an existing dining hall to form an outdoor courtyard. Simple wood-framed scissor trusses support the bunkhouses’ roofs, which are clad in corrugated metal panels in alternating neutral colors that wrap the building’s long elevations. By contrast, the shorter, east- and west-facing end walls are as bright as the boxes of the Scouts’ famous cookies, layered with fluted, colored polycarbonate glazing and painted concrete board over a rainscreen. At night, the colorful end walls glow like lanterns, and during the day they allow light to penetrate. Light wells bring additional daylight into the center of each bunkhouse, and the color theme continues along a series of interior walls and the surfaces of the custom bunkbeds.
“I don’t know a child who wouldn’t want to stay in those bunkhouses.” —Elizabeth Ranieri
Project Trail Center at Camp Prairie Schooner, Kansas City, Mo.
Client Girl Scouts of northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri
Architect El Dorado, Kansas City, Mo.—Douglas Stockman, AIA (principal-in-charge); Sean Slattery, AIA (project manager); Brandon Froelich (project designer)
GeneralContractor Haren Laughlin Construction
M/E/P Engineer PKMR Engineering
Structural & Civil Engineer Wallace Engineering
CodeConsultant Code Consulting Services
Furnishings Custom bunk bed design and fabrication by El Dorado’s 2011–2012 graduate architecture studio at Kansas State University (co-taught by Douglas Stockman, AIA, and David Dowell, AIA)
Size 4,430 square feet
Photographer Mike Sinclair