GB&D Magazine: Nature Center Design that Actually Works for the Environment

It starts with a plot of land. You consider the slope of that land, the way the sun hits, the wind. You seek only the finest materials for your new building—sustainably harvested wood, recycled elements, maybe even decomposed granite. But ultimately what matters most is how it all fits together and whether people engage with your design at all.

Taking a holistic approach—including architecture, landscape, and interiors—has also been crucial at LPA Design Studios, where Design Director Rick D’Amato recently worked on The Environmental Nature Center and Preschool in Newport Beach, California. They set out to design a top educational space while conserving energy and water and supporting the Environmental Nature Center (ENC)’s mission of sustainability. It’s now recognized as the first LEED Platinum building in the region.

“For me this was an environmental project and we had to get in there and support the concept. This was about learning; it wasn’t about, ‘Oh, well the architecture looks great on this,’ or ‘The landscape looks great on this.’ It’s how do we support the mission, and how does everything we do make that better?”

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