Ford Calumet Environmental Center
- Studio Gang
- 0 - 100K
- 1-5 Stories
In order to educate visitors about the Calumet region's unique industrial and natural importance, this project reconceptualizes the way a building is constructed. Using the nest-making process as a model, the design for the 27,000 sf Environmental Center is composed of materials collected from things abundant, nearby, and discarded: salvaged steel from the Calumet industrial region and other remnant, recyclable materials such as slag, glass bottles, bar stock, and rebar. In highlighting these materials and employing them in new ways, the building demonstrates the sustainable principle of re-use. Other sustainable features include geothermal heat pumps, earth tubes, a biomass boiler, and water collection systems, all of which are integrated into the overall building design and become part of the educational component of the center and its site.
As of early 2012, the project is being envisioned as a future anchor of the Millennium Reserve, a new 140,000 acre open space reserve system that will connect green spaces throughout northeast Illinois, with the Calumet region at its core. The Center will become a green job training and development hub where workers and volunteers expand their skill sets in environmental remediation, restoration, and conservation.