A history of mineral excavation around Breckenridge, Colorado has generated profound disturbance to the regional landscape. One such operation, the Reiling Dredge, overturned an existing creek bed and adjacent land in its search for wealth. Remains of the historic vessel and its rock tailings are threatened by competing interests, natural wear and human impact. To mitigate these effects and protect the vital interpretive legacy of the site for future generations, Bluegreen was called upon to develop a unified vision and master plan.
Driven by stakeholder-generated desires to carry forth the dredge's legacy of environmental admonition, while privileging a future of ecological restoration, what developed is a comprehensive plan that allows the story of the site to subtley unfold within the context of an evolving landscape.
Cohesive and light, proposed interventions secure historic legibility without disrupting the interpretive fabric. Spaces for contemplation, recreation and restoration emerge from within the site and are carefully choreographed to engage the visitor in an experience of progressive discovery. Access to the creek corridor, an undredged 'island' and rock tailings offer opportunities for visitors to develop a tangible understanding of the scope of operations through their exposure to trace elements of the pre-industrial landscape.
Materials and construction methods echo historic applications without replicating, allowing them to recede into the setting. Visual obstructions associated with necessary barriers and overlook enclosures are minimized with construction that balances rustic character and transparency. Subtle markers define areas of historic surface archaeology and allow additional information to be keyed to a map or digital app.
Through its restrained revelation of latent histories and processes, Bluegreen's master plan for the Reiling Dredge innovates as it re-interprets. More than mere artifact, the proposed design embraces the didactic potential of the site as it sets up a framework for a culturally-rich and ecologically-sound future.