Quandel Construction Group, Inc., a local construction firm, was selected to complete Camp JRF's new Eco-Village on their beautiful Aaron and Marjorie Ziegelman Campus, located in South Sterling, Pennsylvania. The Eco-Village is planned as a living laboratory for sustainable building and environmental consciousness and will increase Camp JRF's enrollment by 30 percent.
The new village reflects the need for social spaces to encourage the dialogue required to become responsible people and uses sustainable building strategies and materials to foster respect for the earth. The village will be composed of yurt cabins, round tent structures originating from nomadic tribes of Central Asia, appropriate to this project because of their round non-hierarchical and socially inclusive shape. They will be grouped in threes in the dense woods adjacent to a meadow, on wooden platforms around wide steps that lead to a communal fire pit. Colorful awnings will span between tents to provide relief from the sun and to unite the round yurt shapes.
The project also includes a boys and girls bathhouse which serves as a daily bathing spot as well as a place for campers to gather and discuss the events of the day. The bathhouses are comprised of sheltering roofs with deep overhangs and wood screen walls that offer views out and ample air circulation.
The project features many sustainable design components including locally harvested, naturally rot-resistant Black Locust lumber, stained glass-like walls of beer bottles recycled from local taverns and embedded in "cob" walls, dual flush toilets and waterless urinals, high ash content concrete foundations and stone walls made of stone found on the site.
Construction on the $2.5 million project began this fall at the 120-acre wooded, lakeside camp that annually welcomes nearly 400 campers ranging in age from 8 to 17 from
across North America, Israel and around the world.