Calling attention to a historic landscape can be difficult when there are few artifacts to differentiate it from its surroundings. New Jersey-based ikon.5 architects successfully brought renewed attention to a historic battlefield from the American Revolutionary War with their design of the Monmouth Battlefield State Park Visitor Center in Manalapan Township, New Jersey. Located on a high point, the building is a glazed LEED Silver-certified pavilion that frames views of the battlefield while maintaining a minimal energy footprint.
The Monmouth Battlefield State Park Visitor Center replaced an underutilized structure built for the Bicentennial and comprises office space, a theater, museum store, exhibition space, classrooms, an archeology lab, and restrooms. Though the pavilion features many programmatic features, its thoughtful design keeps the focus on the landscape thanks to its custom-fabricated “mullion-less” glass curtain wall. The largely glazed building appears to float on the landscape and offers unobstructed views of the battlefield from the museum. “Sited at the top of Combs Hill overlooking the Battlefield, the pavilion is conceived as a modern day primitive hut, templar in its siting, but diminutive in its appearance,” write the architects.
The building achieved LEED Silver certification thanks to the installation of triple-glazed low-e laminated glazing that wraps around the building and minimizes heat gain and loss. The roof features long eaves to shade the interior and further minimize unwanted solar heat gain. The new visitor center was built within the bounds of the existing property to minimize site impact and incorporates renovated portions of the original building. Rainwater collected on the roof is reused in a rain garden. A geothermal system is used to heat and cool the building.
Images via ikon.5 architects, by Jeffrey Totaro and James D’Addio