Naperville Park District’s goal for the project was to have the Interpretive Center showcase the natural environment, operate with energy efficiency, minimize environmental impact, and satisfy aesthetic needs of the community.
Our design for the Interpretive Center building includes many elements that were specifically selected to respect the park’s established environment, and to offer opportunities for visitors, especially school-aged children, to interact with the park grounds. Large windows all around the classroom area of the building visually connect the indoors to the outdoors. The floating exterior wooden deck is a place for visitors to venture out and connect with the adjacent wetlands area and native plants. It also provides a place for groups of students to bring classroom activities outside. The gabled, sloped roof exposes the structure, while the fiber cement shake siding reflects the residential-style campsite buildings once on the site and the scale of the nearby single-family homes.
Energy-saving design strategies were implemented, such as a shaded site location and large, operable windows connecting the indoors to the outdoors, while providing natural light. Permeable parking area pavers help clean and cool stormwater. Wall and roofing system insulation meets project energy conservation goals. Additionally, interpretive signage explains the environmental resources of the site.
- 2013 Merit in Architecture, Distinguished Building Under $3 Million, AIA NEI Chapter