This is a new urban nature center, the Discovery Center at the Chattahoochee Nature Center (CNC), which will open Saturday, June 20, 2009.  Although the initial goal was to achieve LEED Silver, the 10,000 square-foot facility will likely achieve LEED Gold as a result of an early and collaborative effort by owner CNC, architect Lord, Aeck & Sargent, landscape architect EDAW, and general contractor Genoa Construction, et al.  Here's what it's all about:

CNC_Discovery Center, upper level

The Chattahoochee River is a drinking water source for a majority of Atlantans, or a total of 3.5 m people.  Since the purpose of the Discovery Center is to teach the community about the Chattahoochee River watershed, the project team prioritized water sustainability (rather than chase various LEED credits).  Thus, Lord, Aeck & Sargent designed the Discovery Center to include elements such as a green roof terrace, butterfly-shaped roof for rainwater catchment, and underground rainwater storage for non-potable water uses, etc.

Additionally, the building makes use of economical, standard materials in creative and efficient ways to show good non-profit stewardship.  It's frugal smart.  For example, the structure is built into the hillside to reduce thermal gain and maximize the building envelope efficiency.

Other green features include: site optimization to maximize daylighting; 2,000 square feet of drought-tolerant plantings on the green roof to save water; use of an efficient HVAC system; roof SIPS for energy-efficiency; and incorporation of low-VOC finishes and durable, recycled-content materials.  If you're in the area, check it out …

[+] Attend the New Discovery Center Grand Opening on June 20, 2009.

CNC_Discovery Center and Ben Brady Lakeside Pavilion

CNC_Discovery Center, both levels

Photo credits: (c) Jonathan Hillyer / Atlanta.