Walden Pond Visitor Center by Maryann Thompson Architects has received the Second Award at International Architecture Awards 2018. International Architecture Awards 2018 is the annual Awards hosted by Architecture Podium. After the consecutive success in hosting IAA, Architecture Podium in its Third year had launched IAA 2018 with even more Categories and Awards.
In previous years, Architecture Podium created one of the largest awards in architecture and design with some of the esteemed studios as winners like Aedas, TerreformOne, Rockwell Group, Pepe Gascon Arquitectura, Morphogenesis, Dada & Partners, Nadaaa, XTEN Architecture, Mecanoo, ABIBOO Architecture and many more from across the globe making IAA one of the most successful awards. The mission of the IAA Award and Competition is to provide a fair, ethical and competitive platform for architects and designers and innovators from all design fields with different experience levels, diverse disciplines, and market focus to compete on while providing them a global audience to showcase their success and talents to.
To know more about the IAA 2018 and Architecture Podium visit: International Architecture Awards 2018
Sustainability was a primary goal of the new Visitor Center at Walden Pond State Reservation, which obtained LEED Gold certification and is a net positive energy building (better than net zero!). The Walden Pond Visitor Center project is the result of a decades-long planning and implementation process, consisting of an in-depth collaboration between DCR, the design team and the public. The Visitors Center serves 500,000 visitors a year and offers interpretative spaces as well as offices for park rangers and the interpretive staff involved in the teaching program.
Building energy use was lowered by providing a super insulated building envelope, including triple paned windows, an efficient electric air-source heat pump heating/cooling system, and all LED lighting. A large PV array shades the parking area and supplies more electricity than this all electric building uses. There is no fossil fuel consumed by the building. The energy model completed during the design phase demonstrated that the building uses 48% less energy than its comparable baseline building. Because of this the PV system was able to be smaller in order to hit net zero energy.
On the south and west facades, projecting timber overhangs work to reduce solar heat gain while allowing in more light in the cooler months. Even in winter, triple-pane windows and super insulation keep the spaces at a comfortable temperature with little reliance on the heating system. In warmer months, ample operable windows and ceiling fans create natural ventilation, reducing cooling loads. A separate solar hotwater system on the building roof provides all of the hot water heating needs of the facility.
The new Visitor Center interweaves with the landscape to emphasize Walden Pond and the site. The building is kept off the central axis to the pond from the arrival landscape so that the pond remains the main focus of the entry. From the arrival area, a meandering and accessible ramp draws the public up through a new lush landscape and onto a trellised deck leading into the exhibition space and public facilities. Nestled within the trees and new plantings, an unfolding spatial sequence creates opportunities for exploration. Exhibition spaces dedicated to the impact of Walden on the world, a community meeting room, and staff offices, serve as a new hub for the park.
The structure and building components of the center are natural, visible and legible, reinforcing the site’s connection to Thoreau and the birth of the American Conservation Movement. 98% of the wood used in the structure was sourced locally and sustainably from Massachusetts forests. Heat-treating local Ash and Maple allowed for local materials to be used in exterior locations, thus avoiding the use of rainforest woods. The deck is heat treated Ash and the exterior walls and soffit are heat treated Maple. Interior woodwork is also from Massachussets Maple. Desks, furniture and the info desk within the exhibition space were made with Red Oak that was milled directly from the site.