Visitor Activity Center

Pocono Environmental Education Center / National Park Service, Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania

The Visitor Activity Center was designed to reflect its non-profit and governmental sponsor's commitment to the ideals of environmental stewardship. Through careful siting and orientation, thorough research, selection of materials, analysis and design of building systems, the Visitor Activity Center is focused on sustainable design.

The Visitor Activity Center was designed to function as a gathering space for dining, meetings, lectures and other environmental learning activities. The design is a layered solution in which visitors pass through the forest, cross a wetland, enter the building through an opening in the dark north wall and cross through a bar of service spaces into the bright, sun-lit main room. This main gathering space has been designed to take advantage of all the natural world has to offer: the warmth of the sun, prevailing breezes, natural light and views of the forest to the south.

A cast-in-place concrete frame separates the main gathering space from the entrance and support spaces and supports the combination glue-laminated timber and steel trusses. This concrete frame is infilled with block etched with animal tracks, leaf outlines and other images from nature drawn by children, further integrating the mission of environmental education into the building.


2010 Honor Award for Building Design
United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Designing the Parks Awards
2009 Award of Excellence, Educational Facility Design Awards
AIA Committee on Architecture for Education
2009 Green GOOD DESIGN
The European Center for Architecture and The Chicago Athenaeum
2009 Silver Commonwealth Award
10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania
2008 Top Ten Green Projects
American Institute of Architects, Committee on the Environment
2006 Citation Award
Wood Design Awards
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