Client: Los Alamos
Location: Los Alamos, NM, United States
Completion date: 2015
Artwork budget: $75,000
Mullen Heller Architecture
The Nature Center in Los Alamos, New Mexico, features exciting, interactive exhibits that get kids and adults thinking and having fun while learning about nature in northern New Mexico. Features include a 3,000-sq-ft exhibit area with an angled overlook wall, a 2,000-sq-ft interior single-sloped roof planetarium, an interior observation room with a view to the north garden and a large exterior observation deck which looks out, over and beyond the canyon edge. The $3.5-million, 6,000-sq-ft design-build project is slated to achieve LEED Silver certification.
Greg Reiche's public commission at the Los Alamos Nature Center, New Mexico interacts with the environment as rain runoff from the roof cascades onto the stone, then goes into a reservoir that waters surrounding plants, while kinetic glass above it changes with light and air movement. It was key that the artwork matched the intent of the building, a dynamic design constructed using more natural materials sited along the edge of a canyon, featuring an exposed wood building and steel planetarium.
The project came together through teamwork, as several design issues had to be settled before construction began. As a result of the team players on this project, each helped solve the problems that arose. The building was constructed right on the canyon's edge, and within budget and before deadline.
This project received Engineering News-Record's "Southwest Project of the Year" award, beating out a slew of projects in Arizona, Nevada and others in New Mexico.