This post was written by Rosanne Catron, 2010 Information Center & Bookstore Manager.
Last week, Mono Lake Committee staff met with architects from Siegel & Strain to brainstorm ideas for remodeling the front of the Information Center & Bookstore. Siegel & Strain have experience with eco-friendly layouts and materials, and focus on using sustainable, local resources in their plans.
They came to us with some rough plans incorporating the suggestions of staff, members, and visitors. These suggestions included tiered steps for sitting and reading, spots for benches, an outdoor retail space, and an educational map of Mono Lake that would be incorporated right into the patio. Other ideas developed during the meeting included a larger awning for shade, a kiosk for information and fliers, a sound screen for quieter outdoor meeting spaces, and places for educational and useful water conservation devices. Of course, we have more ideas than space, but the new storefront will definitely incorporate some of these concepts.
After listening to our comments, suggestions, likes and dislikes all day (and taking copious notes), the architects plan to draw up new plans that we will look at once again. It’s a long road planning such a huge project, especially one with so many possibilities, but we all came away from the meeting feeling really excited about our future storefront.
If you have ideas for the storefront, it’s not too late! Let us know what you think by emailing me or calling us at (760) 647-6595. Thank you to all of you who already wrote and called us with suggestions, and thanks also to all of our members whose donations make this project possible!
The storefront should have a large shed roof covering an extended flat patio out to the sidewalk. Wheel chair ramp on the left side, wide (not deep) stair steps on the right side. The shed roof top should be glazed blue tile, the visible underside should be wattle made from local plant materials. The shed roof should be supported with artificial tufa sculptures rising to support each corner, containing metal posts to support a metal beam across the width of the front patio. The stuccoed area above the shed roof should have a new, exquisite mural of the lake as it existed pre-DWP diversions, perhaps at sunset. Instead of conventional front door and windows, the exisiting front wall should be replaced with French doors, so that an open indorr-outdoor space can be created for events at the store when the weather is nice. Small narrow planters along edges with native plants. Benches should be easily moveable for events. I’m not in favor of outdoor retail, but outdoor informal education would be great. Store personnel should have excellent communication skills and be knowledgeable without being obsequious or overbearing.
John, thanks so much for your comments. I’ve taken note of your ideas for our next meeting with the architects. French doors are a really interesting concept that we hadn’t thought of yet. I’m kind of curious what you and others think outdoor informal education should entail – murals? posters? staff? Let us know about this and any other ideas. Again, thanks for the feedback.