An environmental research laboratory for Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

As scientific understanding of the origin and order of coastal barrier islands continues to grow, designers are being forced to reevaluate their design strategies for the shore and near-shore areas. This project involves the design of an Environmental Research Laboratory on Back Bay, in the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The problems and possibilities associated with building on the barrier islands have been analyzed. and design solutions applicable to this and other sites have been presented. In the final design, the structure has been located in the bay, shoreward of the barrier islands and elevated to permit sunlight and rainfall to pass as uninterrupted as possible to the areas below. The object of such design is to have a minimum effect on the landscape (or waterscape) below the building, while creating new green space above. All these characteristics are intended as positive results, able to transfer to other water or land sites.