Outdoor Education Center at Cantigny Park

Adding to a rich History

The new Cantigny Outdoor Education Center is located within the 500 acre Cantigny Park in Wheaton. The estate was the home of the late Robert R. McCormick, former editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. Upon his death, his will stated his Cantigny estate be “maintained for the education, recreation and welfare of the people of Illinois.” To that end, thousands of people visit Cantigny each year, including visiting the 1896 Robert R. McCormick Museum, the First Division Museum, world class gardens, golf course, outdoor concerts, hiking, picnicking, as well as camping for scouts. Cantigny maintains a myriad of programs for environmental and nature based programming, as it educates the general public of all ages. The Outdoor Education Center is an important part of the comprehensive program to reinforce the sustainability of the campus.

Sustainable features minimize Site Impact

A key strategy for this project was to safe-guard the Park itself. The design reduces site impact in terms of vehicular access and parking, storm water control through bio-swales, minimizing the non-roof heat island effect as well as limiting light pollution. Potable water is being conserved through xeriscape landscaping, water saving low-flow toilet fixtures and dual flush toilets.

Careful Planning saves Energy and Resources

Operable windows and clerestories minimize the need for air conditioning. The energy-conscious building systems has been linked to, and controlled by, a campus-wide energy management system. Construction materials, such as the concrete, fiber-cement siding, manufactured stone cladding and bathroom tile, have a significant recycled content and are regionally extracted, processed and manufactured. Construction waste was diverted from landfills, where possible. Indoor air quality was managed during construction and pre-occupancy. Low VOC materials such as the concrete stain, paint and adhesives were specified. Individual lighting controls and motion sensors, as well as a programmable thermostat, maximize control and comfort of the indoor environment. The protected significant glazing maximizes daylighting and views. Consistent with Cantigny’s mission, the building teaches the public how to incorporate green and sustainable design principles into their daily lives.

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