Battelle Darby Creek Environmental Center
The Battelle Darby Creek Environmental Center serves as an educational nature center in which visitors can learn about the park’s diverse ecosystems. The building features a 53 foot long living stream, which reproduces the waterway habitats that are found within the park. Other interactive exhibits are also featured which allow guests to engage in the natural world around them.
The primary design challenge for the project was the placement of the building in the fragile setting of the park. The building was oriented on the site to provide an overlook for the natural prairie that supports bison and also to look toward Battelle Darby Creek. The building orientation also supports the principles of climate responsive design as well as other features such as natural ventilation and the use of geothermal heating and cooling systems.
A green roof planted with native vegetation integrates the building into the surrounding landscape. The green roof and the sloping site required careful coordination and planning to design the structure appropriately. Careful coordination was also required to provide adequate structural support for the living stream, which is supported on a structural floor.
The building is pursuing LEED Silver Certification.