FA Seiberling Nature Realm

Visitor Center Renovation and Expansion

SAND RUN METROPARKS AKRON, OHIO, USA

  • Client: Summit Metro Parks
  • Date: Completed December 2009
  • Size: 104 acres, 10,000 SF Visitor Center Building
  • Services: Site, Architectural and Interior Design, LEED Documentation, Construction Administration

Located with the Sand Run Metro Parks, the 104-acre Nature Realm includes an entrance pavilion, a visitor center, several gardens, observation decks, two ponds, hiking trails and a tall-grass prairie. A choreographed path starting at the new entrance pavilion takes the visitor through created wetlands, a native forest, and through the building to a tranquil new exterior program space overlooking a pond.

The renovation and expansion of the F.A. Seiberling Nature Center demanded a collaborative multi-disciplinary approach led by Peninsula Architects.  Seeking LEED Platinum Certification, the design team worked to integrate the site, building and exhibits to meet the Metro Parks’ mission of conservation and education. The existing subterranean structure was renovated and expanded to house a gift shop, exhibition space, program space for 100, a live animal display, work space and administrative offices.

The design team sought every opportunity to emphasize sustainability in the design of the site, systems and materials.  All sustainable site and building components are interpreted in the exhibit space in real time, allowing the visitor to understand how the site and building are working together. The project was awarded LEED Platinum Status.