Archives

  1. Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Bee Discovery Center

    The health of pollinators is in danger from pesticide use, lack of forage, destruction of nest habitats, and colony collapse disorder. Serving as the outreach arm of the University of Minnesota’s Bee and Pollinator Research Lab, this new center gives next generations an opportunity to learn about the intricate and essential world of pollinators. Located on the Red Barn Farm site at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, the center features exhibit space for telling the story of honey bees, Monarch butterflies, and other pollinators, while inviting visitors of all ages to sense the world from the vantage point of the small pollinators. A learning lab provides space for interpretation and educational activities. The design connects interior program spaces to an outdoor environment that features demonstration pollinator gardens and bee hives.

  2. Eastman Nature Center

    The design integrates site, building, and exhibits in order to create a holistic visitor experience in the forest. A long southern facing glass facade brings in light, provides passive solar energy, and extends the exterior paths through the building from the understory on one end to the tree canopy on the other. An active solar array and a geothermal-based heating and cooling system provide much of the building’s energy needs. Operable windows provide ventilation and draw in the sounds and smells of the forest. Roof water feeds a pond to attract birds and animals for human observation.

  3. University of Minnesota Itasca Biological Station

    Located within Minnesota’s oldest state park and at the headwaters of the Mississippi River, the new campus center contains three labs, an auditorium, and a library space. The design breaks the form of the building into three gable-roofed parts to match the scale of the existing campus buildings. Conservation strategies dramatically reduce energy needs, and a geothermal system and photovoltaic solar array on the roof offset energy used by the building with a goal of approaching net zero energy.

  4. Olbrich Botanical Gardens Frautschi Family Learning Center

    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.

  5. Reimagining Warner Beach Design Competition

    Perched along the shores of four of the Yahara Lakes, the City of Madison’s location has attracted generations of residents and visitors and created a unique genius of place for Wisconsin’s capital city. Lake Mendota’s predevelopment lakeshore consisted of fluctuating, routinely inundated forest, marsh, and wetland areas where plants, sun, soil, fish, wildlife, and other organisms maintained a dynamic equilibrium and clean, healthy lake. By contrast, much of the current lakeshore is blanketed with lawns or armored with riprap and bulkheads, drastically reducing the environment’s ecological contribution. Increased development and associated urban runoff, more frequent and intense storms and flooding, and encroaching invasive species have compounded the loss of natural shoreline. “The Living Edge,” MSR’s design proposal for Warner Beach, responds to these conditions by tripling the beach’s effective shoreline area along the 1/4-mile stretch of Lake Mendota. This replicable approach aims to build resilience in the face of climate change, enhance biological diversity, and restore ecosystem function. In addition to amplifying ecological performance, the increase in lake edge expands experiential opportunities for visitors and nurtures a natural affinity for the water’s edge.