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  Headquarters & Visitor Center, 
Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge

Sustainable Design

James A. Coan, AIA of Centerbrook Architects and Planners
P. O. Box 955, Centerbrook, CT 06409

Douglas R. Viehmann, AIA of Guillot-Vivian-Viehmann Architects, Inc.
284 S. Union Street, Burlington, VT 05401

LOCATION: Swanton, Vermont
DATE BID: Apr 2003
Construction Period: Oct 2003 to Sep 2004
Total Square Feet: 7,593 
SITE: 11 acres. Number of Buildings: One. 
Building Size: First floor, 7,593 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 10’ to loft floor; total, 22’6”. 
Basic Construction Type: Timber Frame/New.
Foundation: Slab-on-grade. Exterior Walls: SIPS 
panels, metal panel. Roof: Metal. Floors: Concrete. 
Interior Walls: Metal stud drywall.

ASSOCIATE ARCHITECT: Douglas R. Viehmann, AIA of Guillot-Vivian-Viehmann Architects, Inc. - 284 S. Union Street, Burlington, VT 05401
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Gibble Norden Champion Brown Consulting Engineers, Inc. - P.O. Box 802, Old Saybrook, CT 06475
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: E.F. Wall and Associates - P.O. Box 259, Barre, VT 05641
MECHANICAL & ELECTRICAL ENGINEER: Hallam-ICS - 38 Eastwood Drive, #200, South Burlington, VT 05403

The Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge is located on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain near the Quebec border in northern Vermont. The 6,590-acre refuge consists of quiet waters and wetlands and uplands of mixed hardwoods and open fields.

The architects were asked to design a new headquarters and visitor center that would welcome and orient visitors, offer interpretive and environmental exhibits and programs, support refuge administration, and provide meeting facilities for community and ecosystem-related groups. The building also had to be durable enough to withstand the severe northern climate, be energy-efficient, low maintenance, and showcase sustainable design. 

Sited in a saddle area of a wooded knoll, the building is positioned to take advantage of panoramic views of the lake, mountains, and woodlands. The site includes a wetlands demonstration area using the building's discharge waters and bioswales planted with regional wetland plants to capture runoff from the site and building. An area adjacent to the building serves as an "outdoor classroom" for school groups and visitor tours. Other areas are planted with wildflowers in lieu of more formal lawn areas. 

The facility's impact on the site was minimized throughout construction by avoiding waste, conserving water, and incorporating recycled and low-emitting materials in the building. The building's southeast orientation, large glazed windows, roof overhangs, well-insulated building envelope, and stone mass walls take advantage of natural daylighting and passive solar heating and cooling. Discharge from low-flush toilets and waterless urinals and on-site wastewater treatment are flushed through the wetlands, further minimizing the building's impact on the site.

The Headquarters and Visitor Center uses a variety of renewable energy systems. A 3.9 Kilowatt solar photovoltaic array and a 10 Kilowatt wind turbine make nearly 20,000 Kilowatt hours of electricity per year, more than 95% of the building's needs. A geothermal HVAC system uses water source heat pumps in conjunction with direct geothermal cooling. Water drawn from a deep well provides naturally hot/cold water for the system's heating and cooling loop. Water used in the building's loop is discharged to a demonstration wetland.

The building serves as a model of the educational and environmental goals of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

DIV. 3: Concrete Stain: Bomanite. 
DIV. 6: Structured Insulated Panels: Insulspan. 
DIV. 7: Metal Panels: MBCI; Metal Roof: Galvalume® Plus: Wheeling-Nisshin, Inc.
DIV. 8: Curtainwall, Entrances & Storefronts: Kawneer; Windows: Eagle Window & Door; Special Doors: Overhead Door. 
DIV. 26: Lighting: Focal Point, BEGA, Portfolio.

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Headquarters & Visitor Center, Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, Page 56

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