Combining conservation and community outreach

Audubon Center at Riverlands Conceptual Design

Audubon Center at Riverlands

West Alton, MO

  • Classrooms
  • Landscaping

Project Story

The Audubon Center at Riverlands represents a unique public/private partnership between the Audubon Center and the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers. Both organizations have a focus on wildlife and ecological conservation, and the Riverlands Center is a major component of their outreach to the community. Christner was engaged to envision how the Audubon Center at Riverlands could expand their existing facilities to further their mission and accommodate increased demand for their educational programming.

  • Size

    17,000 SF

  • Status

    Completed 2019; project paused for fundraising

  • Awards

    2023 AIA St. Louis Merit Award for Unbuilt Architecture

The Work

The project was kicked-off by facilitating a vision and goals-setting meeting and small-group workshops. A program was developed for additional classroom space, presentation space, and expanded offices, in addition to seed processing and greenhouse facilities. A code analysis gave insight into different ways to expand the existing buildings, while multiple design options were generated to explore everything from different public/private funding scenarios to how building components are arranged and sequenced.

Sited in a major migratory bird flyway near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, the landscape plays a big role in the life of the center and in the building planning study. Design strategies were developed using building elements to frame ideal landscape views and to alternate between indoor and outdoor space, providing for an immersive experience of the landscape and wildlife. Due to the outdoor-focus of the center and the exposed nature of the site, a series of sheltered, porch-like spaces are envisioned to extend the educational functions into the landscape.

Services Provided