… there needs to be inviting, friendly, and comfortable places where youth want to be. Young Life’s Windy Gap property needed such a place on their campus to gather, relax, and just talk about any and everything.

The architectural objective was to create a place with an atmosphere conducive to campers and counselors meeting, snacking, and talking together during free time. Windy Gap is an established, premiere camp property with full sleeping, eating, and recreational facilities. It is nestled in the high, green mountains of western North Carolina. The camp is a destination camp frequently operating at full capacity with campers and counselors traveling from around the country to spend a week at camp. The Sippin’ Parlor needed to be centrally located, complement the camp’s natural and built environments and provide a desirable, informal setting, light food service capabilities, and flexible, inside seating for 50 individuals. 

The selected site was a grassy area adjacent to the camp pond, centrally located between an area used for large, group activities, the general store, lodging, and the dining hall. The water, island, and creek outlet were key features to highlight. A wide retaining wall, serving as structural support for the patio, provides additional, informal seating at the water’s edge. The small dam at the pond outlet creates a relaxing, background sound-scape for the outdoor space. A bridge from the parlor to the small island enables access to an otherwise inaccessible, unique feature of the property. The indoor seating area faces the lake through a large expanse of glass, taking full advantage of the water feature and island views while providing ample natural light. The galley food service area occupies the East, road-side portion of the building to accommodate delivery logistics. The pine interior finishes complement the natural mountain setting and existing buildings’ style. The result is a focal point for the camp that draws in campers and counselors to relax, eat, and talk during free time. 


TDArchitect provides architecture, building services, and project management for the home, office, commercial, and institutional projects in Maine. We help plan, create, and manage clients; building projects and processes. Our respect for environmental context informs our work as we creatively respond to each clients’ unique project parameters. Contact us to discuss your project.

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