The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources posed a challenging design problem at their site in Spooner WI. Create a new facility to serve as the co-regional headquarters for staff, and provide adequate public service space for the hunting and fishing population of the north woods, all on an existing site without disrupting the operations of the current facility (to be demolished later). In addition to the design challenge, three major goals were set for the project: to achieve LEEDTM Gold certification, to design a site and building that truly engaged the public, and to create a comfortable and efficient work environment.
Distinctive design elements include an airy, welcoming visitor entrance; curved, glue-laminated wood beam structure; and extensive daylighting of the office space through the use of clerestory windows. Outdoor elements included as part of the full design concept include an employee plaza with water feature, and sculptural interpretive signs along paths on the DNR grounds. Stormwater is held on site through the use of bioswales, rain gardens and detention basins, all linked by the surround terrain, the site’s unifying aesthetic element. This integration of the landscape with the building acts as a seamless design and educational element.