Size: 39,000 square feet
Status: Completed 2003
Program: New construction of highly sustainable, energy-efficient nature center; first LEED Gold certified new building in Wisconsin
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
Situated on 185 acres along the shores of Lake Michigan, the new Schlitz Audubon Nature Center opened to the public in 2003. Once a pristine lakefront prairie and woodland, the site was logged and turned into horse pasture in the early 1900’s. In 1971 the site became a nature preserve.
TKWA was hired to design a new building to replace an aging structure the Center had outgrown. The goal was to design a facility that preserves the natural sanctuary of the site and helps educate the public about environmental stewardship.
Key sustainable features include a stable, well-insulated building shell to minimize temperature fluctuations, roof-mounted photovoltaics, natural daylight and ventilation, and use of site-harvested timbers. A restored native prairie covers an extensive geothermal heating/cooling system, and helps helps manage stormwater runoff while supporting overall site biodiversity.