AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects
World Birding Center Headquarters
|Photo credit: Hester + Hardaway, Paul Hester|
- Location: Mission, TX
- Building type(s): Interpretive Center
- New construction
- 13,000 ft2 (1,210 m2)
- Project scope: multiple buildings
- Rural setting
- Completed January 2004
A joint effort between the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and local communities established the World Birding Center to "significantly increase the appreciation, understanding, and conservation of birds and wildlife habitat." Many of the project's nine sites in the lower Rio Grande Valley seek to repair or reestablish the rich natural landscape.
The World Birding Center Headquarters, located in Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, was intended to form a gateway between disturbed land that was cleared for agricultural purposes some 30 years ago and more then 1,700 acres of adjacent native habitat that is being reclaimed and established as a habitat preserve.
This project was chosen as an AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Green Project for 2006. It was submitted by Lake|Flato Architects, in San Antonio, Texas. Additional project team members are listed on the "Process" screen.
The design and construction theme was to do more with less. Through the process of "right sizing," the buildings were reduced to 13,000 ft2, reducing first cost, material and energy use, and maintenance requirements. Structural arched panels enclose the maximum space with the least material and use 48% less steel, by weight, than traditional steel framing.
A flooded habitat demonstration garden exhibits the characteristics of the natural flooded Resaca environment and forms the focal point of the design. All landscape planting was strictly limited to species native to the region. Land surrounding the buildings is being restored to its native state and will exhibit various stages of restoration.
A 47,000-gallon rainwater collection system is utilized for irrigation and for a wildlife trough. A series of rainwater guzzlers, natural pools, and water seeps provides much-needed water for birds and butterflies. Water-efficient fixtures and waterless urinals minimize indoor potable water use.
Energy-efficiency strategies include high-efficiency, variable-speed mechanical cooling equipment; on-demand water heaters; and efficient lighting. Shielded exterior lighting protects this important night sky and migration flyway.
Owner & Occupancy
- Owned and occupied by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, State government
- Typically occupied by 15 people, 40 hours per person per week; and 185 visitors per week, 2 hours per visitor per week
Integrated team, Green framework, Open space preservation, Wildlife habitat, Indigenous vegetation, Stormwater management, Water harvesting, Efficient fixtures and appliances, Efficient irrigation, Drought-tolerant landscaping, Massing and orientation, Insulation levels, Glazing, Passive solar, Lighting control and daylight harvesting, Efficient lighting, Adaptable design, Durability, Salvaged materials, Recycled materials, Local materials, Connection to outdoors, Daylighting, Low-emitting materials