- Architects: DesignGroup, Columbus
- 505 West Whittier Street
The Grange Insurance Audubon Center seeks to create a pedagogical relationship with its users to embody the definition of environmental stewardship with a building that can take an existing condition of an urban brownfield and improve it to a more natural condition. The building also seeks to be a center for the community by being a location for gatherings and events to be held against the backdrop of a uniquely occurring natural area within an urban landscape.
The building itself is a multi programmed urban ecology and bird study center that blurs the lines of interior and exterior space by the use of courtyards and porches to create a complex relationship between the building and the site. Large areas of glazing are used to visually connect the building to the river edge, the Metro-Park and downtown Columbus. These large areas of glass also create a strong relationship between the building and natural light as the light changes and modulates throughout the day and from season to season. What visitors will also notice when they look at the glass is that it is decorated with a pattern to prevent birds from flying into the windows. The quality of the movement of water was studied closely and expressed in a variety of ways including artful downspouts and rain-chains tied to site water features. The qualities of materials were studied closely with a selection of contrasting and weathering exterior & interior, natural & man-made materials.
This relationship to nature continues beyond the building into the designed portions of the site as well. Pervious concrete pavement, pervious pavers, recycled content decking, limestone and native vegetation are all utilized to minimize the impact of the building on the site.