Wild Center Wild Walk

The Wild Walk lifts visitors above the treetops of The Wild Center and the surrounding Adirondacks in Upstate New York. Designed by Linearscape and open since July 2015, the Wild Walk echoes the surrounding pine trees through the form of Cor-ten steel posts that support the walkways. The architects answered a few questions about the project.
What were the circumstances of receiving the commission for this project?
The Wild Walk is part of the Wild Center, a 54,000-sf nature center that was completed in 2006. The Wild Center has been such a success that many of the original team members were invited back to work on the Wild Walk.
Please provide an overview of the project.
Wild Walk is an interactive nature walk at the Wild Center, a non-profit organization and nature center committed to helping people explore and learn about the natural environment of the Adirondacks. Built in the forest, Wild Walk is designed as an elevated trail of bridges that creates a learning landscape; bringing visitors up into the treetops to offer a new perspective of the forest. The project consists of a series of platforms connected by bridges that start at grade level and gradually bring people 40 ft. above grade to look out over the surrounding woodlands.
What are the main ideas and inspirations influencing the design of the building?
Through its form and use of materials Wild Walk is designed blend into the forest. The platforms are supported by Cor-ten steel posts conceived to be an abstraction of the surrounding white pine trees.
Was the project influenced by any trends in energy-conservation, construction, or design?
Wild Walk was realized as a design build project since the construction season in the Adirondacks is short and time was crucial. Given the complexity of the geometries the entire project, including all of the steel components, was modeled digitally in 3D. The digital model was given to the contractor who then prefabricated many of the components, including all of the bridges, in the shop prior to the construction season. In order to disturb the site as minimally as possible a lot of attention was paid to how the prefabricated parts could be brought on- site without harming the existing landscape.
What products or materials have contributed to the success of the completed building?
The Adirondacks Park Agency required that Wild Walk blend into the forest as much as possible and that it be minimally seen from the surrounding mountain peaks. Cor-ten steel is the prominent material because it is durable and its changing color palette blends seamlessly into the forest.  Galvanized steel was used where the use of Corten was cost prohibitive.

Email interview conducted by John Hill.
Site plan
The Wild Center
Tupper Lake, New York

The Wild Center

New York, NY

Design Principal
Charles P. Reay

Project Architect
Ting Chin

Project Manager
Wayne Striker

Structural Engineer

MEP/FP Engineer
Syska Hennessy Group, Inc.

Regulatory Approvals/Landscape and Site Planning
William W. Palmer and Barbara M. Budzinski 

Northland Associates with Phoenix Welding & Fabricating

Exhibit Design and Fabrication
Cost of Wisconsin and The Wild Center

Exhibit Graphic Design
Derek Prior

Building Area

Courtesy of Linearscape