Hands-on Learning in Vail Valley
Walking Mountains Science Center
Mountain Form and Performance
Walking Mountains Science Center merges traditional mountain form with bioclimatic design to create a campus for hands-on environmental education. Inspired by layers of native vegetation and localized sun and wind patterns, an ascending series of structures recall the Gore Range’s shifting ridgelines.
Inside and out, the campus itself serves as an essential teaching tool in support of the curriculum. Sustainable technologies and low-impact strategies are integral to the design language. Flexible, day-lit and naturally cooled indoor spaces are connected to the exterior environment, and embraced by a robust building envelope fine-tuned for high altitude.
Sense of Place
Sheltering overhangs, protected courtyards, satellite classrooms and an on-site trail network encourage exploration of the natural world outside, maximize instructional flexibility and reduce dependence on constructed interior space. This smaller footprint conserves resources and protects habitat, enabling more immersive experiences of local Buck Creek ecology.