Truckee’s Ward-Young Architecture & Planning designs Visitor Center in Lassen Volcanic National Park
December 31, 2008
Truckee, CA – The local firm of Ward-Young Architecture & Planning designed the recently completed Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center, located at the south entrance of Lassen Volcanic National Park. The firm, in conjunction with a team of design experts and contractors, collaborated on the design and construction of the 8,000 square foot Visitor Center, utilizing a Design-Build project delivery method. While the initial objective of the National Park Service was to obtain LEED Silver Certification, the projects green design may achieve LEED Platinum Certification, making it one of the first such National Park Service buildings in the country.Slayden Construction, of Stayton, Ore. led the Design-Build team. Ward-Young worked closely with the builder, the National Park Service and the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), of Denver, Colo., in designing and evaluating sustainable design strategies for the project. RMI assisted with optimization of the building design and performance with energy and daylight analysis, LEED coordination and materials selection.Robert Heck, a principal at Ward-Young, was the Project Architect for the Visitor Center. The National Park Service was committed to building green from the start, comments Heck. It requires an integrated design approach, involving the owner, the design team, and the contractor from the early conceptual design through the completion of construction to achieve a building with this level of performance and environmental sensitivity.The project design provides for effective shading strategies and maximizes opportunities for day lighting while providing dramatic views of the surrounding National Park. The use of a computer-controlled daylight harvesting system, which automatically dims the lights when it senses enough natural light, greatly minimizes the centers dependence on electricity. Heating is provided through an in-floor radiant system and cooling through natural ventilation and a ground-source heat exchange piping system. The design team overcame climate restrictions by locating a 28.9 kW photovoltaic system on the nearby headquarters building that receives less snow. Materials were selected in consideration of recycled content, long-term sustainability and in support of healthy building criteria. In an effort to replicate the exact microclimate of native vegetation, seeds of native plants in the construction site area were harvested and cultivated in the surrounding landscape.The Visitor Center is Ward-Youngs third project slated for LEED Certification. The firms next project in the certification process is the U.S. Forest Service Truckee Ranger District Office, which is currently under construction. The Truckee Ranger District Office is a 12,000 square foot administrative and visitor information building, which may achieve LEED Gold Certification.For more information, visit http://www.wyarch.com.