Jackson & McElhaney Architects

Jackson & McElhaney Architects

Austin, TX


Warren Skaaren Environmental Learning Center at Westcave Preserve

The purpose of the Warren Skaaren Environmental Learning Center at Westcave Preserve is to serve as a wilderness classroom in an established preserve in Central Texas.

The building design is flexible and can accommodate large school groups of 150+ children and normal visitor groups of 1-10 people. It serves as an efficient classroom for large school groups by providing standard teaching tools such as computers, projection screens, marker boards, tack boards, and exhibit walls while making a space that feels like it is connected to the outdoors and open to the surrounding preserve.

Most importantly, the building creates an awareness of the basic environmental systems that we live within. The educational challenge of environmental learning is to simplify the complexities of the natural sciences and ecology to their basic components; air quality, water quality, protection of the soil and the conservation of energy. As such the design of the structure was conceived as a 3 dimensional textbook, a framework for analogies between building materials and systems and how they mimic or model natural systems.

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Status: Built
Location: Round Mountain, TX