Water Discovery Center Building
Nestled in a gently sloping 10 acre site bordering the east branch of the Delaware river, the Water Discovery Center building is surrounded by lush green Catskill mountains and deep valleys that presents an iconographic panorama of New York city’s watershed environment.
Architect Joseph Hurwitz has created a stunning "marker" building that consists of three intersecting truncated pyramids whose geometry is evocative of the surrounding mountain range while in microcosm illustrating the dynamic of a watershed system i.e. a continuous and recirculating water flow, built into the roof structure flows into the "pyramid" intersections (valleys) and is collected in the two pools (reservoirs) that span the facility’s main entrance.
Water and green building technology continue to play a major role in the construction and design of the building. Philosophically our goal is that the building merge with the environment to the extent that its presence will be as integral and natural to its setting as is technically possible. The 25,000 sq ft roof covering the exhibit space below is a (green) roof garden which at one end is an extension of the existing natural grade; the transition will be indiscernible.
60% of the complex’s exterior walls will be built below ground, into the site’s sloping topography, providing tremendous thermal insulation value. All rain water falling on the roof garden will be collected and stored, in a cistern below, for use in water displays, site irrigation and the drip irrigation serving the continuous planting terraces built into that portion of the exterior stone walls surrounding the exhibit area that is not below ground.
The building will be constructed in accordance with the US Green Building council LEED certification. In addition to the insulation value of below ground level construction, we will utilize a geo-thermal installation for heating and cooling and tracking photo voltaic arrays (think of a sunflower) will supply electric power. The ultimate goal is a zero carbon footprint and total self sufficiency in energy usage. To that extent the 200 foot continuous skylight starting at the "marker" building and running the length of the ancillary structure contains integrated insulated/reflective panels whose positioning can be adjusted to optimize energy usage relative to the heating and cooling cycle throughout the year.
The building also contains two 1,000 sq. ft. classrooms set up as wet laboratories. The restaurant can accommodate 240 persons and will be available for large meetings with catering space for private events while a cafeteria on the lower level will offer casual fare. Space has been allocated for a gallery featuring local artists as is the case at the outdoor sculpture garden adjacent to the exhibit hall. A 145-seat theater is part of the exhibit environment or can be used for special presentations.
Outside the ticketed area, visitors will be able to explore the Catskill launch pad exhibition which features information on activities, events, organizations, hotels, motels, B&Bs, restaurants and businesses in the Catskills. Computer generated maps will be available to provide directions. Check the website in days to come for more details on the building design.
Water Discovery Center P.O. Box 8, Arkville, NY 12406