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Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Salt Fork State Park Eco-Discovery Center

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Modern Eco-Discovery Center

Project Details


Domokur & Associates, along with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, are working together to create an Eco-Discovery Center at Salt Fork State Park. Throughout a series of bi-weekly meetings, the Domokur team received and integrated ODNR feedback into the design process to reflect their vision. ODNR aimed to construct a space which is modern, pure, simple, and connects with nature.


Within the state park, the Eco-Discovery Center is located just off the main park road for easy access and high visibility. The site takes advantage of an existing parking lot and sanitary system, while the building is positioned to address visitors, provide views of the adjacent lake inlet, consider the solar orientation, and minimize the disturbance of the site.

The structure will not only house exciting exhibits about nature, but the building itself will showcase sustainable design features to the public on a relatable scale. These elements include a green vegetated roof, rainwater harvesting system for irrigation, a raingarden and permeable pavers to accommodate stormwater, photovoltaics, sustainable building materials and more.


Roof forms slope upward in varying directions, emphasizing the entry and creating a dramatic sequence of exhibits in the main space. These sloping roofs are complemented by large expanses of glass providing views to the exterior. Conversely, the restroom form slopes downward to provide views from the exterior of the vegetated roof and photovoltaics while supporting the proper solar orientation.

Standing seam metal roofing wraps down each building form to become the exterior wall material, along with its thick roof fascia and vertical wall edge. Other secondary exterior wall materials include fiber cement siding, cast stone and composite metal panels. On the interior, materials are kept minimal with wood accents to allow the exhibits to be the focus and for the space to relate back to nature. Throughout the center, modern building materials with natural colors are introduced to fit with the park's existing buildings.

The exhibit space has a defined circulation path, meandering around the office and workroom spaces which acts as a separate form, penetrating the larger exhibit volume. Within the northern facade, a viewing area protrudes out overlooking the Butterfly Meadow. Site paths provide access to the meadow, a lawn area, and a bird habitat.