In an alpine setting, at nearly nine-thousand feet above sea level, the nature and science center is designed as a viewing platform into the nature of the site.
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The architecture allies with the center’s curriculum as teaching tool revealing phenomena and fostering a sense of wonder about the site. The design weaves core values of the institution: Education, Stewardship, and Community. From project siting to the selection and detailing of materials, the design is bound to the situation of place; both natural and human-centric. The building, as a living organism, will provide opportunities to teach about the natural, its physical properties and how we inhabit it.
By emphasizing key sustainability features that include a super insulated building envelope, thermal mass flooring, passive heating and ventilation, and recycled or carbon positive building materials, the nature center will be exhibited as a carbon emission-free building utilizing passive energy efficient design strategies. Specific elements of the project such as the use of composting toilets, photovoltaic panels connected to DC powered equipment, and dichroic glazing will serve as highlighted learning opportunities for visitors to actively understand how the building serves as a shelter from the elements and a device through which to experience them.