The Nature Place

Reading, PA

Details
“Clean” and “dirty” classrooms, outdoor learning space, nature play area
Lobby, conference rooms, offices, support spaces
Trails through wetlands and natural habitats
Designed to achieve LEED Silver Certification
Owner
Berks Nature
Services
Feasibility Study, Programming, Site Analysis, Fundraising Materials, Cost Estimating, Sustainable Design, Interior Design, Full Design Services, Construction Administration, Building Information Modeling

A working example of conservation principles and sustainable development, the new Nature Place embodies Berks Nature’s belief that nature is essential to our quality of life.

Sited adjacent to an existing classroom building, orientation of the new structure celebrates the environment, providing panoramic views of the surrounding wetlands, making a visual connection with the nearby Neversink Mountain and maximizing daylighting. Oversized doors in the classroom spaces open to an outdoor deck overlooking the wetlands, gracefully merging the indoors and out. Deferring to the surroundings, building materials include recycled stone from farm buildings and reclaimed wood from Pennsylvania mushroom farms.

“Our instructions to the architects were to create a simple design, easy to maintain, functional, and respectful of the park. What we have isn’t anything I could have envisioned, but it is everything we dreamed of.”

—Kim Murphy, President, Berks Nature

Awards

AIA Baltimore Good Design = Good Business Award Honorable Mention

Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, Building Berks Award for Education

Smarth Growth Alliance of Berks County, Smart Growth Award