Visitors Center & Gardens at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands

Location: Rancho Mirage, CA
Project Size: 15,000 SF
Project Completion: 2011
Project Cost: $20 million
Sustainability: LEED Gold
Awards: Best of LA Architects Awards, Los Angeles Business Council
Design Green, Architectural Foundation of LA

Sunnylands is the 200-acre winter retreat of publisher and philanthropist Walter and Leonore Annenberg in Rancho Mirage, designed in 1964 by A.Q. Jones with interior decoration by William Haines.  Designed by FFP with Mrs. Annenberg, the new Sunnylands Visitors Center & Gardens at The Retreat at Sunnylands complements the historic estate, accommodates prominent retreats, and functions once again as the “Camp David of the West” hosting distinguished guests such as President Barak Obama and high level heads of state. The Center also provides educational programs, events, and public tours. Conceived as a set of garden pavilions, the Center maintains a formal relationship to the original residence with its broad overhanging roof and panoramic glass walls. The single-story building is dramatically set in a multi-purpose desert landscape garden designed by The Office of James Burnett. Michael S. Smith’s interior decoration of the Center pays homage William Haines’ work. CMG Landscape Architecture is renovating the estate landscape, which includes a restored Dick Wilson-designed golf course. FFP drove the effort to create a sustainable center with desert planting, a photovoltaic array, and geothermal heating and cooling designed to generate 100% of the energy required to run the Center.