Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation:
Leo Roy, Commissioner
Priscilla Geigis, Director of State Parks
Susan Hamilton, North Region Manager
Pete Hoffmann, Field Operation Team Leader
Robin Pfetsch, Project Manager
Nat Tipton, Assoc. Project Manager
Stephen Brown, Solar Project Manager
Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance:
Carol Gladstone, Commissioner
Jack McDermott, Project Manager
James Styles, Project Engineer
Frank Lorenzo, Resident Engineer
Maryann Thompson Architects
Principal: Maryann Thompson FAIA
Project Manager: Zac Cardwell AIA LEED AP
741 Mount Auburn Street,
Structural: RSE Associates Inc.
MEP/FP: Garcia, Galuska & DeSousa, Inc.
Civil: Nitsch Engineering
Masterplanning: Crosby | Schlessinger | Smallridge
Landscape Architecture: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.
Specifications: Kalin Associates Inc.
Code: Hughes Associates
LEED: The Green Engineer, Inc.
PV Canopy Design and Engineering: Solar Design Associates, LLC
Cost Estimating: VJ Associates
Exhibit Planning: Object Idea
General contractor: Stutman Contracting Inc.
Solar Array contractor: Ostrow Electric Co.
Walden Pond State Reservation is an internationally acclaimed National Historic Landmark and protected open space along 330 acres. Over 500,000 visitors a year visit the pond due to its great beauty, as well as inspiration of Henry David Thoreau. The surrounding towns of Concord and Lincoln are the fonts of the flowering of American literature in the mid-nineteenth century, as well as the birthplace of the modern conservation movement.
The 5,575 sf visitor center interweaves with the landscape in order to emphasize the pond and heighten the experience of the site. The building is nestled behind trees and shrubs giving it an air of mystery with a long accessible ramp to draw visitors into the visitor center. Exhibition spaces, a community meeting room and staff offices, create a new hub. A large open-air deck of locally-source heat treated ash with a black locust trellis, addresses the pond and provides a moment of repose at the building’s entry.
The structure is an all-electric, net-zero consumption building and implements Passive House principles. The building has no reliance on fossil fuels. In winter, high-performing triple-pane windows and super insulation keep the heat in. In warmer weather, ample operable windows and ceiling fans create natural ventilation and light, thus reducing the need for air conditioning and artificial lighting. A large solar array provides shade over the parking lot and services all the energy needs of the building. The walls and floors of the building are from locally sourced heat-treated wood to withstand the New England weather, eliminating the need for rainforest wood.
Basis of Performance Claim
Conditioned Floor Area
4,500 sq ft
Total Cost of Project
Energy Data Type
Renewable Energy System Type(s)
Annual renewable energy generated
Envelope and Mechanicals
Foundations were cast-in-place concrete with a continuous vapor barrier and 2" of rigid insulation.
Foundation wall assembly
Foundation walls are cast-in-place concrete with 3" continuous insulation down to the footing, waterproofing layer and drainage board leading to a footing drain.
Above grade wall assembly
2x6 wood framing at 16" o.c. with full cavity cellulose insulation. 1/2" plywood sheathing installed over studs with additional 3" continuous insulation. An additional layer of 1/2" plywood was installed and then building felt and wood siding with a ventilation mat.