(Washington, DC) Mayor Anthony Williams announced the winner of a design competition for an environmental education center to be built on Kingman Island. The Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and Green Spaces for DC hosted the design competition along with a selection committee comprised of community members, urban planners, architects and green building advocates. The winning design by Studios Architects was chosen from a field of ten teams.
The environmental education center is part of a larger initiative to reclaim and develop the land along the Anacostia River. This initiative is being undertaken by the Williams administration and the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation, along with local and federal partners.
The US Army Corps of Engineers created Kingman and Heritage Islands in 1916 for recreational purposes, although the islands have historically been underutilized. Only recently have they become active again with community programs and activities.
The DC Department of Parks and Recreation, DC Health Departments Watershed Protection Division and other partners are working together to turn the islands into a 45-acre park. In addition to the environmental education center, the reclaimed islands will include forests, meadows, wetlands, trails, canoe tie-ups, a children's playground and a four-acre memorial grove that will commemorate September 11, 2001.
The proposed nature center will be designed to be the "greenest" building in the District, meeting the US Green Building Council's requirements for a platinum designation, the highest rating possible, in its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.
Patty Rose, Executive Director of GreenHOME, a non-profit organization whose mission is to make affordable housing sustainable, chaired the selection committee. “The design that Studios submitted not only met all our selection criteria,” Rose noted, “it’s an elegant building that celebrates sustainability and the Kingman Island site. The research the Studios team did into the kinds of spaces that make other nature centers successful is reflected in the quality of their design. This building will become a place people will come to treasure.”
The proposed design is for a 9,000 square-foot, two-story environmental education center that includes an environmental lab, a greenhouse, classrooms and multi-use areas. A green roof /native plant nursery and water-collecting cistern will manage storm water Recycled wooden louvers will provide solar shading to the passive solar double-skinned facade. Other sustainable elements will be further refined as the design work goes forward.
The Anacostia Waterfront Corporation is responsible for raising funds to advance the project in collaboration with the DC Department of Parks and Recreation, which will be responsible for the building and island upon completion. Construction will begin once funding is in place.
To learn more please contact Michael Lucy at DC Department of Parks and Recreation.