Building is a state owned Visitor Center facility that is open year round almost every day of the year. Staffing and visitor numbers are seasonal with the peak in the summer.
Days per year Building is fully occupied:
100% new construction (partial reused basement from previous building). Scope included building and extensive landscaping, utility and energy components.
Type of Construction
Number of buildings
Floor area of each building
Conditioned Building Volume
55,000 cu ft
Conditioned Floor Area
4,500 sq ft
Semiconditioned Floor Area
1,075 sq ft
Location and Climate Details
915 Walden St.
Köppen Climate Type
Lat. / Long.
POINT (-71.3345107 42.4404591)
Annual CDD and Base Temp
867 | 65 deg F
Annual HDD and Base Temp
6372 | 65 deg F
previously developed land, preexisting structure(s)
The site is across Walden St. from Walden Pond in the location of a previous structure (former house) used by DCR as a visitor center and adjacent to the visitor parking areas. An enhanced arrival landscape area was created between the parking area by reducing the overall parking lot size from the existing to better connect and welcome visitors to the new Visitor Center, Henry David Thoreau replica cabin and crosswalk to the pond itself.
Materials and Design Strategy
The overall project had goals of using local materials whenever possible. The building itself uses local Massachusetts lumber for siding, decking, flooring and casework. Other wood products such as framing was FSC certified. Waste management during the project accounted for over 95% of waste being diverted from landfills. Native and adapted plant species allowed for no permanent irrigation and the majority were obtained from local sources.
Special architectural measures:
Daylighting Strategy: The large windows will allow the building to be lit during the day by natural sunlight rather than electric light. All offices have large windows as well.
Cross Ventilation: The building was designed to be cooled down by natural breezes vs. air conditioning. Large operable sliding doors in the main exhibit space and operable windows in all the offices allow for the breezes to blow through the building, decreasing the days in the year when the AC needs to be turned on. Ceiling fans in the main spaces are also utilized to enhance natural air circulation.
Overhangs: The new Visitor Center’s large overhangs, combined with the tree canopy, help to shade the expanse of glass that is directed to the view, to prevent the building from overheating in the summer.
Indoor Environment Description:
The project met all LEED goals for low-VOC containing materials and is designed to have a high rate of indoor/outdoor air exchange via natural ventilation. Additionally an ERV system is present to promote a healthy indoor environment.