Education Center and Pup House, The Wolf Mountain Nature Center, Smyrna, New York
Wolf Mountain Nature Center sits outside of Smyrna, New York at an elevation of approximately 2100 feet. Having been in operation for over a decade, the center is comprised of a few small and scattered structures, out of which the all-volunteer staff does everything necessary to take care of the 20 wolves that live on the site. The next phase of growth for the center requires a centralized space to contain new activities: gift shop, vet room, conference room, and two rooms for wolf puppies to be born and raised.
Sited at the crest of a hill and the middle of the property, the new building acts as the hearth of the Wolf Center and is exposed to the elements on all sides. The form of the building is scaled with respect to the landscape – forest, sun, wind, cardinal axes - while the interior is intended to be intimate and warm for both staff and visitors (as well as wolf pups). Superinsulated walls are constructed entirely of foam concrete (AAC) blocks with painted stucco finish, while the monumental roof trusses are framed with wood that has been milled on the property. The house is off-grid and relies on the massive roof to provide both an angled surface for solar panels and a fresh air plenum that initiates air circulation within the building.