Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center
Sited on a 40 degree slope overlooking Mercer Slough, the Environmental Education Center embraces the beauty of the natural environment while minimizing disruption to the sensitive forest floor.
The eight structures and interconnecting aerial boardwalks spring from pile caps on branching steel supports. Less than one quarter of the square footage touches the ground. These elevated structures maximize views with the least impact to the ecosystem.
Sustainable elements include the reuse of existing buildings, low-impact development, natural ventilation systems, certified wood, steel as a recycled material, and on-site stormwater management. The project is designed tobe light on the land through the use of a variety of low impact techniques. Steel piling and a steel substructure support the buildings, thus minimizing damage to tree roots and permitting unobstructed drainage. The use of exposed steel frames below the floors of the buildings and boardwalks minimize the disruption to the site and provides a unique lofty visual appearance.
“Into the Woods – Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center treads lightly but provides unique vantage points” article in September 2009 issue of Modern Steel Construction authored by Marjorie Lund.