DuPont Environmental Education Center at the Russell W. Peterson Urban
110 South Poplar Street, #400, Wilmington, DE 19801
Architect of Record
Becker Morgan Group
309 South Governors Avenue, Dover, DE 19904
GWWO, Inc./ Architects
800 Wyman Park Drive, #300, Baltimore, MD 21211
Location: Wilmington, Delaware
Date Bid: Oct 2007 Construction Period: Apr 2008 to Sep
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,
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.