Rock of Ages Visitors Center
Durbrow Associates, Structural
- Pearson & Associates, Mechanical/Electrical
Jim Stockman, Lighting
- Forcier Aldrich & Associates
Farrington Construction, General Contractor
Floating Planes at a Granite Quarry
The visitor center is a highly visible “front door” to an already popular tourist destination for the Rock of Ages Corporation. The building’s open design serves as a welcoming starting point to factory and granite quarry tours. The center features interactive exhibits, a video theater, and a corporate sales area.
The design of this small visitor center had to visually compete with a massive 140,000 sf manufacturing plant which it serves while sitting adjacent to it on the same site. The surrounding site was integrated into the building design to add to the “weight” of the 5,000 sf program. The existing grades were sculpted to form a round and shallow dome that gave the building foreground height over the manufacturing plant. The round and curved forms of the building and the site elements serve as a counterpoint to the blocky massing of the factory. A floating plane roof, tilted on two axis, is perched above the domed site on scattered columns of varying sizes. This is to mimic and interface with the trees planted in island inside the bus access.
The programmatic elements that require privacy are housed in free standing forms that are both within and outside the floating roof. Toilets and roof top mechanicals are housed in a natural weathering cedar clad drum which anchors and extends above the floating plane. Administrative and reception functions are contained in a rough granite clad “slash” which extends from the exterior to the interior leading the visitor into the building at the main entry. The third free standing element is a circular form housing the video auditorium. This form is clad in a large scale mural depicting the history of the granite company. Public spaces are designed to wander around the free standing forms as well as extend to the exterior of the building on the eating terrace.