From its inception, life in the Karoo has been defined by struggle for water. The minimal amount of rainfall has resulted in a parched condition in which each species of plant and animal has had to adapt, utilizing an economy of means in order to exist. Human inhabitation, a relatively recent phenomenon in the long history of life here, has demanded more of the landscape than it can sustain, bringing it to the brink of irreversible depletion.
The Center aims to re-establish the connection between the built and natural world as one that is mutually beneficial. Forming an exemplary model of sustainability, the Center generates its own energy, harvests its own water, processes its own waste, and provides thermal comfort using no municipal water or power. Learning from the continuum of life in the Karoo, the architecture of the Center provides a lasting connection to the landscape, and fosters an understanding of the interdependence of ecosystem health, and human well being.
The Karoo Wilderness Center enables representatives of the academic and business world to directly engage in the resources they depend upon and promote…Conservation and use are demonstrated as equivalent functions …through which less is lost and more is gained.”