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  DuPont Environmental Education Center at the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife RefugeDuPont Environmental Education Center at the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge

Construction Manager

EDiS Company
110 South Poplar Street, #400, Wilmington, DE 19801

Architect of Record

Becker Morgan Group
309 South Governors Avenue, Dover, DE 19904

Design Architect

GWWO, Inc./ Architects
800 Wyman Park Drive, #300, Baltimore, MD 21211

General Description

Location: Wilmington, Delaware
Date Bid: Oct 2007 Construction Period: Apr 2008 to Sep 2009
Total Square Feet: 9,174
Site: 7 acres in a 214 acre wetland reserve.
Number of Buildings: One/Heavy Timber Framing.
Building Size: 4-story with a total of 9,174 square feet.
Building Height: 4-story with a total of 68'.
Basic Construction Type: New/Heavy Timber.
Foundation: Pre-cast concrete piles w/cast-in-place concrete caps and concrete piers. Exterior Walls: Cold form metal studs w/hand split cedar shake siding. Roof: Standing seam metal roof. Floors: Heavy timber. Interior Walls: Metal stud drywall, wheatboard.

Construction Team

Structural Engineer: MacIntosh Engineering - 300 Delaware Avenue, #820, Wilmington, DE 19801
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: Mahaffy & Associates, Inc. - 800 Woodlawn Avenue, Wilmington, DE 19805
Civil Engineer: Rummel, Klepper & Kahl - 81 W. Mosher Street, Baltimore, MD 21217

The new DuPont Environmental Education Center is part of efforts by the Riverfront Development Corporation of Delaware to restore marshlands along the Christina River, while creating economic vitality, enhancing the environment and promoting public access. The site for the new facility is an open expanse of reclaimed wetland located at the southern most edge of Wilmington, Delaware 's urban environment. Housing exhibits, classrooms and offices for nature education and related recreation activities, as well as community meeting and gathering space, the building enhances and encourages the relationship between urban development along the waterfront and the natural environment.

The client 's goal was "to create a symbiotic relationship between urban development along the waterfront and the natural environment. " To fully realize the client 's objectives it was important to locate the 4-story building within the 212-acre refuge. Elevated above the marshlands, the design responds to the dynamics of the natural systems - tidal river and wetlands - as well as infrastructural elements: an adjacent railway, high voltage power lines, and multiple utility rights of way. Keeping true to its setting, the building has a number of green innovations including infrastructure for both a wind turbine and a solar panel array. The site parking and walkway areas are lit by Photovoltaic technology. The building compliments include structural glue-laminated timber from local sources, low VOC paints, passive solar design, lighting controls and wheatboard paneling throughout.

The center is at once a sentinel standing guard over the refuge and a gateway between the urban environment and the last vestige of natural marshland. As they traverse the delicate bridge, visitors experience the tenuous connection between man and nature. Seen from afar, the building acts as a beacon marking the terminus of the city 's riverwalk. From within, windows on the north facade frame views to the city while the south opens toward the natural setting.


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