Oak Point Associates designed a 6,000 sf visitor center facility for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that created a dynamic new image for an existing building and that encourages public visitation and exploration. A 2,000 sf storage and accessory building was also designed and constructed. Sustainable products were used throughout to work with the mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The challenge of this renovation was to incorporate the existing structure by enclosing it within the perimeter of the new building. It allowed the entire facility to be wrapped in a new skin of cedar shingles. It was important that the new building blend in with the surrounding environment. The architecture became an exercise in softening the transition between inside and out, creating connections to the landscape. Therefore the edges along the journey from the site to the porch, through a transparent atrium, to the inside, were gradually introduced to create a shelter. This helped to break down the contrast between inside and out.
Design included expanded exhibit spaces, improved circulation, and a new multi-purpose room. The renovation included landscape design that helped to identify circulation paths while shielding the service area. Native species were chosen for their color, texture, and form. All of the planting selections require low maintenance and minimal-to-no irrigation. Extensive planting details were provided to ensure proper installation and long plant life.
The building has successfully provided a space to encourage wildlife enthusiasts to walk around and view exhibits while learning about the refuge. With the use of environmentally friendly materials throughout, it is a facility that everyone can appreciate.