Orientation of a south roof overhang and large east and west porches maximizes passive solar heat gain while eliminating exposure to harsh winter winds TS

The orientation and massing of the Environmental Education/Visitor Activity Center maximize the site's passive solar and natural ventilation potential using simple strategies with enormous benefits. The long south face maximizes solar gain in winter months and the floor slab of the main space serves as a heat sink to store solar energy. Conversely, the building's north side shields against winter winds. The tilted main roof aids both of these functions, maximizing solar radiation and light to the south while deflecting north winds. Light-colored roof covering minimizes the heat island effect on the surrounding environment.

Cool air from shaded porches to the east and west and warmer air, exhausted through high windows on the south face, optimize natural ventilation. The porches and south roof overhang also shield the building from direct summer sun. The sloped main roof moves warm interior air to the high exhaust windows, while the Venturi effect aids ventilation as wind moves over the roof outside. To increase natural ventilation during extreme conditions, the south face of the main space contains large sliding doors that can be opened to maximize ventilation.

ABOVE: Harvested by local volunteers, discarded automobile tires await their destiny. Local volunteers harvest discarded tires to be used for the canter's exterior sheathing. (PEEC)

LEFT: Detail of tire "shingles"—from trash to building material. (NL)

Materials incorporated into the Environmental Education/Visitor Activity Center, such as recycled tire cladding, were selected for their potential visual impact as examples of environmental design, reinforcing the building's role as a teaching tool. The north wall's unique tire cladding enabled the construction process itself to serve as a learning opportunity Local volunteers harvested discarded automobile tires from the nearby river, roadsides, parks, and other local sources. Specialists on-site cut the tires that once littered the area into shingles, sending a powerful message to both visitors and staff who watched the tires' transformation from waste product to building material. The north wall continues to pose a visible challenge to visitors to embrace environmental responsibility

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