The Discovery Center is the gateway to the 3,100 acre Albany Pine Bush Preserve. The facility functions as a welcome and interpretive center whose purpose is to educate the public about the preserve, its unique natural resources, and environmental role. ENVISION Architects’ design for the adaptive reuse of the 26,000 square foot former bank building accommodates interpretive exhibits, meeting spaces, and staff offices. Site improvements include native landscape restoration, interpretive trails and outdoor exhibits, a tensile fabric canopy, and restroom facility.
ENVISION Architects achieved LEED Gold certification through successful integration of sustainable strategies including 25% improvement in energy performance, 50% reduction in water usage, and 78% protection/restoration of native landscape. The restroom facility features a composting toilet system that demonstrates an alternative to conventional sewer and septic systems, the first of its type approved by the local jurisdiction for public use. Site lighting energy use is offset by an 8kW photovoltaic array. Sustainable design features are featured throughout as exhibits to educate and inspire visitors.