SB Elliott Visitor's Center
The SB Elliott Visitors’ Center will act as the gateway to a series of parklands in northern central Pennsylvania called the “PA Wilds.” This highly statinable building will be the starting point for visitors to the surrounding parkland. The facility includes a welcome center, auditorium that will host lectures and presentation and exhibit space featuring displays about the local native wilderness. A series on gabion retaining walls run parallel to the contours of the land, which slope down to the western banks of a pond. These walls orchestrate the site and building program as it cascades down the hillside towards the pond.
The unique surroundings led us to incorporate local materials and the highest level possible of sustainability in the project. Registered for LEED accreditation, the building has a hybrid structural system comprising a steel super structure forged out of steel from Pittsburgh, the secondary structural members are reclaimed timber with a wood deck to be harvested and milled from trees on site. The gabion walls will use stone that is found and quarried on site. Flooring throughout most of the facility will be Pennsylvania bluestone. The glazing system for the building uses high-performance glass panels with an inner film layer and argon gas. Along the full length of the east elevation in front of the viewing porch is a wood sun screen made of reclaimed lumber. The high-performance mechanical system will be linked to geothermal heat pumps and will feed a radiant air flow floor system. Waste water will be treated naturally on site with a set of constructed wetlands. The project will be topped with an intensive green roof of native plantings to blend into the natural surroundings and limit runoff from the roof.