FCEC Competition

A major goal of the Center is rehabilitation of the wetlands area. The building is both a physical base for stewardship of vulnerable ecosystems and a symbolic base, to demonstrate commitment to conservation. Given the unique goals of Calumet, the building is also a statement about the coexistence of nature and human industry. Can a building, shelter from nature, humankinds most intrusive creation, help teach us more about the natural environment? These suppositions and this question lead us to four principles to follow in designing the Center: 1. The building must be extroverted. It must guide us out of itself, to explore the surrounding preserve, while educating us about the preserve. 2. The building must engage directly, beneficially, the surrounding natural environment. It may not decrease the ability of other animals and plants to thrive in the preserve. 3. The building must be exemplary. It will demonstrate construction strategies and methods that minimize the harmful impact of human civilization on Earth. 4. We must balance science and art, conservation and experience. A building that does not touch the imagination cannot succeed scientifically. Conservation efforts will never get the opportunity to succeed without the promise of gratifying experience.