The Discovery Center
The East Park Leadership and Conservation Center (EPLACC)’s Discovery Center, houses the National Audubon Society and Outward Bound Philadelphia within a world-class education and research facility in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. The landscape design reflects the site’s unique successional ecology as it has become an important stopping point for migrating birds since the reservoir was closed to the public in the 1970s.
The arrival sequence, evocative of the feeling of discovering a lake at the top of a mountain, commences with the path from the Strawberry Mansion Neighborhood and the parking lot and ascends through a successional meadow and mature canopy trees to the top of the slope. There, the building frames the first expansive view of the secluded lake. In collaboration with the Audubon Society, Ground Reconsidered developed a plant palette to increase ecological functionality and the inclusion of a littoral shelf supports new habitats, including ones for freshwater mussels which will help filter the water. The site design accommodates the expansive programming requirements for EPLACC, providing visitor and fleet parking, bike parking, Outward Bound storage and pack-out areas, an exploration trail, a challenge course, bird blinds and an outdoor classroom, while considering the need for secured access around the perimeter.
- National Audubon Society, Outward Bound Philadelphia
- Philadelphia, PA
- 2014 - Current