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Olbrich Botanical Gardens Frautschi Family Learning Center

Plants are generative. Shouldn’t buildings be too?

This new education center and greenhouse enhance learning opportunities related to sustainability and garden stewardship within a nationally-respected and locally-beloved botanical gardens. Focusing on low impact to the watershed, the project contributes to the client’s goal of becoming internationally recognized as a leader in environmental education. The new buildings complement the existing campus’s Prairie School style architecture with low visual impact to gardens.

The design features a 60,000-gallon underground cistern beneath the learning center that captures rainwater to provide 75% of the water needed for the greenhouse, eliminating the need for a stormwater retention pond on site. The new, highly-efficient smart greenhouse features a hydronic radiant heating system, misting system for localized cooling, automated roof vents, and BAS control. Certified LEED-NC v.3 Platinum and designed to use 61% less energy than the baseline, the learning center features a hydronic radiant floor system and a PV solar array on the roof.

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