On September 25th, 2020, nARCHITECTS celebrated the opening of the Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center, born out of a public and private partnership spearheaded by New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. This pioneering building and landscape, and the exhibition that weaves through them, will educate visitors about the ways in which energy use and nature shape each other, pointing towards a carbon neutral future for New York State.
Designed by nARCHITECTS as a “chalet for all”, the building functions as a gateway to the stunning natural environment of Jones Beach West End 2, while educating visitors on how they can become stewards of the environment In meeting NY State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s objectives almost thirty years before its targets, the building will serve as a model for sustainable architecture.
At 330’ in length, the linear one-story building rises from foundations belonging to a previous 1960s bathhouse, extended on either side to accommodate the Center’s educational program. As a result of resiliency measures, the building perches above the horizon, providing stunning views of the dunes and Atlantic Ocean to its South. Future visitors may one day glimpse the vast offshore Empire Wind Project far out at sea. A newly constructed landscape, reclaimed from 12 acres of demolished concrete parking, surrounds the building’s other sides with native plant species, immersing it in an expanding natural environment.
Organized around a series of interior volumes that house offices, support spaces, and classrooms, a continuous exhibition space flows from gallery to gallery, spilling out onto a perimeter shaded canopy and amphitheater. As an example of integration between architecture, landscape, ecology, engineering, and exhibition content, the Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center provides a public laboratory for learning about how feats of human engineering and forces of nature intertwine and overlap.
Surrounded on all sides by a shading canopy, the building’s 700 feet of perimeter provides an armature for expanded programming and unforeseen events.
Galleries feature extensive glazing, including clerestory windows. As a result, the interior will be luminous and visually connected to its stunning natural site, eschewing the separation between interior and exterior typical of many museums.
The building’s wave-like profile, signaling the sloping ceilings of the gallery spaces within, conveys waves in both energy and nature.
Client: NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation / Long Island Power Authority / NYPA / NYSERDA
Location: Jones Beach State Park, NY
Sq Footage: 12,000
Program: Exhibition spaces, classrooms, offices
Environmental: Net Zero targeted: 260 PV panels and a large battery ensure that the building can island for 6 hours. Geothermal wells provide heating and cooling. Extensive solar shading, natural and sustainable materials.
Design Team: Eric Bunge, Mimi Hoang | Amanda Morgan, Laura Buck | Matthew Sikora, Jason Kim, Isabel Sarasa, David Mora, Paul Mok, Michelle Lin, Sarah Bernard
Collaborators: Landscape: Starr Whitehouse | Structural Engineer: Silman | MEP and Civil Engineer: FPM Group, Ltd | Lighting Designer: Lumen Architecture, PLLC | Sustainability Consultant: Terrapin Bright Green | Graphic Design: Tactile | Exhibition Design: Tactile, AJA Architects | Cost Estimator: Ellana Inc
Photography: Michael Moran, unless otherwise noted.