Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
Situated on 185 acres along the shores of Lake Michigan, the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center is designed to preserve the natural sanctuary of its site while educating the public about sustainability and the natural world. This facility provides classroom and indoor/outdoor spaces to support educational programming for over 35,000 children per year.
The Center also serves as a popular conference venue, with a 200 seat multi-media auditorium, a large Great Hall reception area, as well as meeting and informal lounge areas. A catering kitchen supports popular public/private events such as weddings and receptions.
2005 AIA Design Award
American Institute of Architects, Wisconsin
2004 SE2 Award of Excellence
Wisconsin Green Building Alliance
LEED Gold Rated
US Green Building Council’s first LEED Gold Rated new building in Wisconsin
New construction of highly sustainable, energy-efficient nature center; first LEED Gold certified new building in Wisconsin
The building employs a stable, well-insulated, massive, and self-shading shell. This long-lasting and energy-efficient building design helps create an ‘energy flywheel’ to keep the building cool in summer and warm in winter. Supplemental heating and cooling is provided by a geothermal heat pump, and stormwater is collected in an outdoor rain garden. A roof-mounted 10kw photovoltaic system provides up to 8% of facility energy needs, and low-flow plumbing and landscape management practices reduce water usage.
A Leading Environmental Education and Conference Center
The Schlitz Audubon Nature Center is one of the country’s largest and most prominent environmental education centers. This TKWA-designed facility provides classroom and indoor/outdoor spaces to support educational programming for over 35,000 children per year. The Center also serves as a popular conference venue, with a 200 seat multi-media auditorium, a large Great Hall reception area, as well as meeting and informal lounge areas. A catering kitchen supports popular public/private events such as weddings and receptions.
The First LEED Gold New Building in Wisconsin
TKWA led a multi-disciplinary consultant team through an integrated design process. Key sustainable features include use of site harvested timbers, design of a stable, well-insulated and self-shading building shell to reduce energy use, incorporation of natural daylight and ventilation, roof-mounted 10kw photovoltaic system, geothermal, and stormwater management.
An Outdoor Pavilion Serves as Trailhead
This award-winning outdoor pavilion overlooks Lake Michigan using wood from site harvested Black Locust trees. The pavilion has become a popular year-round destination for the Nature Center’s educational programming and public receptions, as well as a destination for quiet contemplation by trail hikers on the 185-acre site.
The Nature Preschool at SANC is the first environmentally-based pre-school program in the state. All educational programs offer outdoor experiences integrated into a diverse, seasonally-based curriculum including art, music, perceptive and cognitive skill development, large and small motor skill development, and the natural sciences. Children experience the freedom of casual exploration in a seemingly limitless natural world.