Winans Meadow Nature Center

Baltimore, MD

Lobby, flexible exhibit space, classroom, office
Outdoor gathering and event space
Restrooms accessible from interior and exterior for use when building is closed
Sustainable design features
Baltimore City Department of Recreation & Parks
Site Analysis, Community Involvement, Cost Estimating, Sustainable Design, Full Design Services, Building Information Modeling

Although surrounded by an urban environment, some areas of the over 1,000-acre Gwynn Falls/Leakin Park are so heavily wooded that they give the impression of wilderness.


This unique setting is the backdrop for the new Winans Meadow Nature Center. The center will be located at the second of nine trailheads along the park’s 15-mile public trail system. The center will replace an existing comfort station and expand its function to support Baltimore City programs that are provided to learn about the urban environment, wildlife, and plants along the trail. 

The site’s context of natural woodland, stream valley, and simple stone structures established the concept for the building and aesthetic. Historically the waters of the Gwynns Falls powered early industrial development; mills and factories lined the valley. The site contains some of these stone structures today: a root cellar, an ice house, and a mill wheel remain the most intact. The form of the nature center and exterior plaza suggests the fluidity and movement of stream waters. While the stone references both the natural context and the history of the park, the gentle curves of the stone walls recall the stream and how nature shapes itself. The concept subtly enhances the building’s engagement with the site and its history.