The Whittier Peninsula on the Scioto River in Columbus, Ohio has been identified as an "Important Bird Area” based on migratory bird populations and their stops along their routes. So it's only natural that an Audubon Center was built here as a way to help protect the birds and their habitats. Designed by DesignGroup, the Grange Insurance Audubon Center is ideally located on a former brownfield in the heart of Columbus, making the greatest impact in terms of educating the public on sustainable design and wildlife issues. Topped with a green roof and oriented for optimum solar access, the Audubon Center is a great example of environmentally conscious design.
Planning for the 18,400 sq ft center began back in 2004 with the help of the City of Columbus who took on the responsibility of rehabilitating the brownfield formerly occupied by warehouses, concrete and asphalt production, and vehicular impound. Located right next to the river and near the city’s downtown, the Grange Insurance Audubon Center is one of the few urban ecological centers in the country. Its interesting location at the intersection of nature and the city provides a perfect opportunity to educate a large number of people about their connection with nature and about birds. Having achieved LEED Gold certification, the center also serves as a great example for energy efficiency and sustainable building.
The theme for the center is “Exploring the Nature of Change” which is exemplified in the materials that will weather over time; the changing light through the windows throughout the year; and the ability to watch nature so clearly from within the building. The center makes use of ground source heat pumps, natural ventilation, energy recovery, daylighting, and recycled materials. Native vegetation and a rain garden are combined with a vegetated roof. Windows are covered with a custom frit pattern to reduce solar glare and to minimize bird strikes.
Images ©Brad Feinknopf/DesignGroup