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The Weber Basin Water Conservancy District (WBWCD) manages the water that begins as snowfall in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains and flows into the crowded valleys below. Water is a precious, finite resource in the West. So, the WBWCD engaged GSBS Architects to design a new Water Efficiency Research Center for educating the public about its conservation.
The structure itself is a symbol of sustainable resources. It’s an open and transparent design, built with laminated and cross-laminated timbers made from rapidly renewable and beetle-killed wood—which makes for a warm and inviting interior. The cross-laminated timber also works to clean the air by sequestering carbon and harmful gases, and provides insulative value to the roof, reducing the amount of insulation and mechanical needed to moderate the temperature in the space.
Natural light pours through the tall glass walls, with views of the Wasatch Range, connecting visitors to the Weber Basin watershed and creating a sense of place. Dividable classrooms flow into an interpretative display area, which flows into the outdoor gathering space and to the Conservation Garden beyond.
This new Center now serves as an important public resource, where busloads of school kids learn the value of water, and where adults learn about sustainable yard care, gardening and recreation.
Mass Timber, Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT), Glue-Laminated Timber (GLT or glulam), Hybrid (wood with steel or concrete)