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Welcome to Amazing Space!

Amazing Space is Indian Creek Nature Center’s new building and campus that opened in September 2016. It provides endless opportunities for exploration and discovery, and serves as your gateway to the beautiful natural world outside its doors. Relax in the Bird Room, explore at the interactive watershed table, see how much energy the solar panels are producing at the Energy Portal, and pick up some raw honey or maple syrup in our Creekside Shop.

Amazing Space is not only beautiful, it’s one of the most environmentally sustainable buildings in the country. We are set to achieve the Living Building Challenge – a rigorous certification that is years beyond LEED in providing a measure of true sustainability.

Whether you come here to hike our scenic trails, see a concert in the amphitheater, participate in a yoga class, or to let your children play in the outdoor classroom, we know you’ll want to come back again and again.

Take a virtual tour of the space below, and then come see it for yourself!

What is the Living Building Challenge?

As Indian Creek Nature Center set out to create a new facility, we faced a dilemma. How could we design a building and site that comprehensively expanded our mission of sustainability? Long a leader in energy efficiency and runoff prevention design and technologies, the Nature Center is taking the next bold step. It has accepted the Living Building Challenge.

Living Buildings don’t just push the envelope for sustainable design. Those who meet the challenge-and there are only five throughout the country that currently do-break through the barriers of conventional building practices and the standards set by other sustainable initiatives, including the U.S Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. Living Buildings create synergy between nature and the built environment, between individuals and the community, and between current design and future energy use.

The challenge is simple, but the standards are high. The Design Team must find creative and innovative solutions to meet the twenty imperatives set by the Institute that are appropriate for the project and region. The solutions the team develops will be a resource for the environment, the community and the future.

The Seven Petals of the Challenge:

1) Site-restoring a healthy coexistence with nature
  • Limits to Growth-construction is limited to appropriate locations, reducing sprawl.
  • Urban Agriculture- integrate agriculture opportunities into the site.
  • Habitat Exchange-an area equal to the amount of land developed for the project is permanently protected.
  • Car Free Living-encourage walking and biking.
2) Water-creating water independent sites, buildings and communities
  • Net Zero Water-capture and use precipitation.
  • Ecological Water Flow-manage storm water and treat wastewater on site.
3) Energy-relying only on current solar income
  • Net Zero Energy-create 100 percent of project’s annual net energy use on-site.
4) Health-maximizing physical and psychological health and well-being
  • Civilized environment-occupied interior spaces will have operable windows for fresh air and daylight.
  • Healthy air-over the course of an operating year, building must meet high air quality standards.
  • Biophilia include the following design elements: environmental features, natural shapes and forms, natural patterns and processes, light and space, place-based relationships, and evolved human-nature relationships.
5) Materials-endorsing products and processes which are safe for all species through time
  • Red list-materials or chemicals considered harmful by the ILBI are banned, including everything from Chlorofluorocarbons to polyvinyl chloride.
  • Embodied Carbon Footprint-purchase carbon offset credits to account for construction.
  • Responsible Industry-advocate for sustainable resource extraction and fair labor practices.
  • Appropriate sourcing-use local products and services.
  • Conservation and reuse-develop comprehensive Material Conservation Management Plan.
6) Equity-supporting a just, equitable world
  • Human scale and human places-experience promotes culture and interaction, not vehicles.
  • Democracy and social justice-accessible to everyone, regardless of background, age, socioeconomic class, and physical disabilities.
  • Rights to nature-will not block access to other buildings’ fresh air and sunlight, or restrict access to waterways.
7) Beauty-celebrating design that creates transformative change
  • Beauty and spirit-create design features solely for human delight and celebration of place.
  • Inspiration and education-provide education and share the experience to motivate change.

Sense of Wonder | Certified Nature Explore Classroom

The Sense of Wonder Trail, right next to the Indian Creek Nature Center barn, is a trail and playscape designed for children and adults to explore, discover, daydream, and play outdoors together as they connect with our earth.

Learn More

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