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Donald & Patricia Schneider Education Center Design Inspiration - Jul 25, 2011

West side of the Donald & Patricia Schneider Education Center

by Jolene Griggs, Marketing Communications, Berners-Schober

The Education Center addition, similar to other garden buildings, both blends into and enhances the natural surroundings. The inverted roof form (likened to butterfly wings) cleverly floods more daylight into the space while eliminating wasteful space at the center height of the building.  While respectfully prominent for special-event wayfinding, there is continuity in the design elements of the original building.

The new addition provides the Botanical Gardens with two multi-purpose spaces for wedding receptions, conferences, meetings and classroom functions.  Because of the new accommodations, after a wedding ceremony in the gardens, the reception no longer needs to be scheduled off site.  The key design elements for this space are the view of the gardens and the flexibility to accommodate a myriad of events.  In addition, a private, daylit office wing combines staff into one singular location where in the past, their offices were disjointed and within the visitor space.

The link between the existing facility and the addition, designed with the visitor in mind, is intended to be an extension of the pathways that weave throughout the gardens, continuing the visitor back on their path upon exit.  Accommodating large masses during the winter “Garden of Lights” was one of the major drivers for a simple and efficient visitor flow. Next winter, guests will enter on the main level to buy tickets, enjoy the attraction, and congregate in the newly renovated visitor center where they may enjoy conversation and refreshments.

The renovation of the existing Visitor Center updates the reception area, brings more visualization to the gift shop, and adds a sophisticated yet minimalistic fireplace for warmth and gathering.

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