Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
Size: 5,642 sf
The plains of South Louisiana, long cultivated from the rich soils deposited by centuries of silt, layered each year by the mighty Mississippi’s floodwaters, have now been transformed into recreational benefit. The “greens” once grown for home consumption are today used for celebrating the game of golf. The Wetlands Golf Course, a city course, now flourishes amongst century-old oaks and thickly vegetated sloughs overgrown with indigenous Louisiana irises and cypress trees.
This is the setting for the Wetlands Golf and Visitors Center. Like a silent Louisiana cottage, the elements are simple but reflect careful thought to the pieces used. As you approach the Welcome Center, its rectilinear form with molded brick and seamed metal siding, it sits high above the course it overlooks. Elevated for both visual appeal as well as flood protection, its height creates a striking entry vista.
The architecture reminds you of acadian antecedents, without replicating its past. The reinterpreted form and material palette blend, rather than shout. A water collection system deposits rainwater into a basin, planted with indigenous vegetation and located to aid in the cooling of the arriving visitor.
Roof forms are accented with extended overhangs that act as shading devices while still allowing daylight into the internal spaces. Interior functions are reflected through the external massing. The facility is simple, pointing out its role as background to the culture it serves.