Everglades Visitor Center

Homestead, FL

Details
Interior and exterior exhibits, orientation services, wildlife viewing pavilion
Multipurpose room, theater, bookstore
Hurricane-resistant design
Sustainable design features
Owner
National Park Service
Services
Master Planning, Cost Estimating, Sustainable Design, Interior Design, Full Design Services, Construction Administration

Though devastating, the destruction wrought by Hurricane Andrew in the headquarters area of Everglades National Park presented an opportunity to reclaim and restore the natural environment with a new visitor center that is “a part of” rather than “apart from” nature.

The formal resolution of the project grew from the strong images of the site, which is situated at a transition zone between two ecosystems. The hardwood hammock islands within the sea of sawgrass, the rhythmic structure of the pinelands, and the indigenous architecture of the land—the pole structure and distinctive roof form of the Seminole chickee—are all manifest in the design.

Like the path of the hurricane, a singular wall slashes through the exhibit space, serving as the structure’s organizing element and standing as a constant reminder of the divisive forces of nature.

“The efforts of the design team could not have provided a more appropriate or fitting representation for Everglades National Park.”

—Charles Clapper, former Director, National Park Service

Awards

AIA Maryland Excellence in Design Honor Award
ASLA Maryland & Potomac Chapters Award