The Regenstein Learning Campus is a new environmental discovery center and nature playground at the Chicago Botanic Garden. This six-acre horticultural center is LEED Platinum certified and serves as a vibrant community for more than 125,000 visitors each year. The design immerses families and children of all ages in a variety of outdoor experiences that engenders a deeper understanding of ecological systems. Visitors encounter a variety of natural experiences and explorations as they weave through the grassy mounds, water runnels, boulders, diverse woodland plantings and willow tunnels.
The design challenge of this project is to balance the visual penetration and keep the sense of security at the same time. How to reserve four old Comphor trees in this site is also the issue. The designer tries to hierarchy the boundaries as the design strategy. The 5 concrete walls overlap each other and placed unparalleled by the big trees. They create transitional spaces for wandering and planting between the public field. For people both inside and outside, the walls become the canvas of shadows and light.
Design Concept Reconstructing a brand new style of the space with modern approach, the design blends the clear and refined ancient rhyme into the elegant space, creating a poetic atmosphere as described in the Chinese poetry from Tang Dynasty, “Your villa lies in a deep seluded gloom, who won't be a hermit in your room?”
The urban farm was developed based around its functional requirements. The classroom, which was strategically located to avoid the interrupting the facade from ground level, required the only structure. This structure was placed in position to maximize sun shading in the hottest months. Circulation and other functions were then placed around the axis created by this multifunctional class area. The idea was to simply superimpose the traditional stagnant farm grid with the best angle for sun protection and discover how they would interact.
The civic nature of the project is the starting point for design creativity, moving from management to service, and the role of buildings and squares in the Administrative Service center is changing subtly. The Square maintains the order and image of the administrative space to meet the public's understanding of administrative public management. Through the grid of the tree array to define the overall sense of order in space. The staggered boundary and scale refinement area of the grid becomes the main place of stay and activity, forming a "living room" in the life of the citizen.
The resort with tropical elegance seems to grow from the emerald mound. CONVOLO is more than a pool but an entirely new sector which coexists peacefully with the natural landscape. It is a vital place connecting with nature, human interaction and sustainable development. The concrete and lawn give the terrace a clean-cut parallel and bring up the concept of separation from CONVOLO. The surround landscape and material perpendicular structure which reflected the gathering in CONVOLO.
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