The Schlitz Audubon Center is a 225 acre environmental education center and wildlife sanctuary, currently representing the largest undeveloped tract of land remaining along Lake Michigan in Milwaukee County. The viewing pavilion, sited within a ravine along a gently sloping swath of land, offers a desired, but as-yet unrealized possibility to inhabit the ravine, while protecting the sensitive landscape from uncontrolled pedestrian activity. The architecture suggests a model for insertion into nature, seeing the relationship between man and nature, between built-form and landscape, as a seamless continuum.
Abutting a grove of spruce trees, the concrete, steel and wood pavilion unfolds into a set of terraced platforms that offer a variety of resting places. At one edge, the pavilion floor splits and unravels into an undulate analogue of the ravine slope beneath, becoming a cradle. On the opposite side of the ravine, the pavilion roof, a steel wing forming a continuation of the adjacent land crest, will capture the rain, gathering it in a pool slipped beneath the deck.
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