The Austin Nature Center is an environmental educational facility for children of all ages. The Center includes exhibits, classrooms, offices, animal rehabilitation facilities, and entrance facilities. The Center offers interpretive exhibits about Central Texas natural life and provides for the exploration and observation of nature within its setting and within constructed settings.
The integration of the structure into its site and the input of the staff were main elements and drove the design. The design incorporates a number of nature walks with a central lake, created from an abandoned gravel pit, around which the main buildings are arranged. Special features include a visitor’s pavilion that opens directly onto the lake; a man-made exhibit of Austin’s water system, including a waterfall, a creek, and a pool; a greenhouse; conference rooms; the Nature Center Store; observation points; and other exhibits.
This project received an Honor Award from the Austin Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, a City of Austin Excellence in Design Award, and an Award for Excellence from the Central Texas Chapter of the American Concrete Institute.