From above the center is almost indistinguishable from the landscape, as the stepped green roof tops a pair of undulating wings. Views of the landscape dominate from this vantage point, which allows visitors to access the other side of the building. Two large outdoor pavilions at the entrances serve as natural gathering places.
The architects describe the project’s design principle: “circulation strategy is central to the place-making, which forms a knot creating crossings and loops in, out, and around the roofscape, sunken terraces and the interior spaces.” Visitors enter the building from the terraces as one would enter a cave.
The two wings join together in the daylit core and provide easy transitions between galleries, interpretive displays, and other offerings in the center. The sense of exploration is a core design component, and the sunken and undulating rhythm of the building provides a visceral gesture of the land it interprets. Pathways extend seamlessly out from the building, winding through the scenery and looping back again.