Architectural Design  

The Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park Nature Center

Building Information Modeling aids in the creation of a one-of-a-kind educational facility
TAGS: BIM, parks
 A rendered version of the completed Nature Center

Check out this feature in our beautifully-rendered March issue of Construction Digital

Written by Brian Skripac, Director of BIM, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Situated within the Darby Creek Watershed outside of Columbus, Ohio, this 14,000 square foot educational facility is the centerpiece of this 7,000 acre metro park. The Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park Nature Center’s site is in a newly developed and restored portion of the park that has recently reintroduced a small population of bison, a species native to the area.

The site sits on the edge of the bison reserve.jpg

The center will support Columbus and Franklin County Metro Park’s (Metro Park) vision to encourage visitors by cultivating their knowledge of the diverse ecosystem found within the Darby Creek Watershed. This includes native prairies, re-introduction of the bison, creeks, wetlands and forests. The building will support sustainability practices and will utilize these features as an education tool for the public, containing spaces for interpretive exhibits (like the living stream to celebrate the watershed’s unique biodiversity), a multipurpose room, indoor and outdoor classrooms, a mezzanine and large observation deck for bison viewing.

Exhibiting these initiatives, the DesignGroup team leveraged a Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflow from the earliest stages of a project’s conception to optimize the sustainability and passive design strategies the building embodies. Taking advantage of the interoperability of Autodesk Revit Architecture, the team ran multiple whole building energy simulations in AutodeskGreen Building Studioto study the impact of form, massing and orientation. The team was able to quantify and compare the energy consumption of multiple design iterations, and a favorable solar orientation was established for the project.

Illumination patterns are easily discernable with Autodesk technology.jpg

With an abundance of south-facing glass to maximize prairie views and daylighting opportunities, the team continued to simulate the qualitative aspects of the design by studying the impacts of different daylight harvesting options in the project. Through these simulations, DesignGroup was able to study where to locate and how to size shading devices and roof overhangs while maintaining a high level of daylight in the building spaces, allowing the design team to validate how their design decisions would maximize and minimize solar gains to have the most positive impact on the building’s overall energy consumption throughout the year.

The buliding is designed to provide optimal viewing areas

Additional sustainable features that are contributing to the project include: passive ventilation strategies, a vegetated roof system, a geothermal heat pump system, and the extensive vegetated bioswales/on-site stormwater processing. Targeting LEED Silver Certification, the facility is scheduled to open in late 2012 and anticipates that its performance will exceed ASHRAE by more than 35%. The facility will serve as one of the host locations for the 2012 EcoSummitand continue to serve the educational needs of the community.

Bison reintroduced to Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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