Fostering Renewed Appreciation of Nature
Mill Creek MetroParks
Architecture, engineering, interiors, planning
Fostering Renewed Appreciation
While preserving the character of the historic architecture, the redeveloped Ford Nature Center provides new experiences for the city of Youngstown that can foster renewed appreciations of our natural environment. What was once a private mansion residence closed off to the community, is now an open public amenity for all to learn about the surrounding ecosystems that sustain us.
Immersive Education Experience
The design of the landscape is an extension to the surrounding site of nature center’s educational mission. Tiered seating wraps a plaza located adjacent to the educational building’s classroom, providing a more immersive experience for children to learn about the outdoors. Further immersing students in the site, a second, more informal, outdoor classroom was placed at the north corner of the meadow.
Improved Accessibility for All
Our design organizes the new and renovated public areas around a new elevator and grand staircase, introducing a large opening in the main level floor with visibility into the now accessible lower level.
MetroParks staff likewise will benefit from completely renovated office spaces on the upper story and the introduction of handicapped access.
Preserving Historic Character
The challenge of the project was to create a new addition that could blend in with both the surrounding natural site and the existing nature center’s historic character. To solve this, the design uses concepts of concealment, sequence, and reveal. The massing of the new addition was tucked underneath the existing structure and shaped to extend out into the sloping landscape behind the historic building.