Advancing the Education of Young Architecture Graduates through Foreign Travel-Study
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by Zach Morgan — Finalist


Aqua-Terra is an immersive museum at its heart for visitors to learn the history of the Echo Mountain Railway as well as a tool to understand the environment in which it thrived. The snakelike, gliding form moves across the site organically and drops 15 feet of elevation. The experience of moving through this sprawling form will allow the visitor to descend and ascend across the site, while learning about it.

The site is organized around a central axis of movement. This path of movement was derived by distinguishing the point where the axes of access intersect. This point was at the drainage channel. Much of the concrete needed to be removed from the drainage channel to create an aquaculturae ecosystem for students and visitors. From this pond, the shortest distance to the oak grove became the axis of movement, connecting the water with the landscape visually and physically. Lining this ramp outward are experiential spaces (museum, Echo Mt. hall) out to service spaces (admin, restrooms) on the periphery. Movement between program elements is perpendicular to this axis.

The build maintains net zero energy consumption using solar chimneys combined with downdraft cooling towers, rainwater collection, composting, trombe walls, skylights, solar panels, and more. This way the building can cool itself during the day, retain heat at night, and use minimal artificial lighting during the day. The building then becomes a symbol in the community of sustainable living and a model for others to create better environments for themselves and their children.

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