The Leaf Center
The site of The Leaf Center is located in a unique natural setting beside a lake surrounded by fields and forest in the Southeast of the USA. With our proposal, we wanted to highlight these features which complemented the client’s wish for an iconic building – as part of a new urban development project – with a sustainable character.
Our design draws inspiration from both the shape and function of a leaf. The placement of the three-sided building creates a unique spatial setting with views across the water, an entrance amongst the trees and a terrace leading into the fields. The building’s three wings encompass the three main program elements: the conference centre, exhibition area and research and design facilities. The welcome zone with sales, marketing and catering facilities occupies the central area of the building surrounding the open-air auditorium core. From here all sides of the building can be viewed and accessed.
Architecturally, the expressive laminated wood construction with translucent membrane roof gives the building its strong visual character. Located at the ends of the three wings, the wooden support structure secures the membrane roof, freeing the floor space beneath for the rooftop viewing area. The tensile cover acts as a shading device to protect the viewing decks, creating a stable climate underneath.
The environmentally sustainable building utilises the site’s natural features, namely the wind, sun and rain. The biggest energy savings will be made here by simple passive design strategies such as building orientation to maximize winter sunlight penetration and summer shading through eave overhangs. The extensive roof membrane functions for both protection and collection. For energy and water, flexible photovoltaic panels will be laminated to its large surface while rainwater runoff from the membrane roof will be collected and stored in underground reservoirs.
Location: Southeast USA
In collaboration with: Miriam Haag architecture+consulting
Program: Conference Center, Exhibition Area, Research & Design Facilities
Area: 25’000 m2
Status: Preliminary Design
Team: Serge Schoemaker, Anthony Dann, Dik Houben, Ricardo Ploemen