Project DescriptionFROM THE ARCHITECTS:
The Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park Nature Center is a 14,000-square-foot visitors’ center for the Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park and serves as an educational and interpretive building in which visitors can cultivate their knowledge of the park’s diverse ecosystems. At the heart of the building is a 53-foot long living stream, which reproduces the riparian habitats found within the park, and other interactive exhibits encourage visitor engagement.
The primary challenge faced by the design team was how to place a building in a unique and fragile natural setting. Consequently, the team pursued a design that reduces the building’s impact, physically, visually, and environmentally. The building is located amidst native Ohio prairie at an edge of a knoll that overlooks the park’s bison enclosure to the south. The building was carefully placed to stay out of the boundaries of the Darby Watershed Accord.
The building employs climate-responsive design, including proper orientation, natural ventilation, a highly-insulated building envelope, and the use of geothermal ground-source heat pumps, and is anticipated to use half the energy of a conventional building of similar use and size. A green roof planted with native vegetation integrates the building into the landscape; killdeer and other native birds have been observed nesting on the roof. Stormwater runoff from both building and site are channeled into a series of bioswales and wetlands planted with native species. The Nature Center is pursuing LEED Silver certification.