In 2013, the Boy Scouts of America made conservation a stronger focus of the organization by introducing a new sustainability merit badge and opening an educational center at the 10,600-acre Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia. Using the Living Building Challenge as a guide (a rigorous set of construction standards similar to LEED), Trinity Works retained a multidisciplinary team to create a tree house that would turn lessons into an adventure. Sited on a former coal mine, the building features a locally made prefabricated steel mega-structure, FSC-certified black locust wood housing, a photovoltaic array, a wind turbine, and a rainwater catchment system. Visitors learn about energy and water conservation as they climb outdoor staircases that lead from the forest floor to the 125-foot-high rooftop rising above the leaf canopy.
Size: 6,000 sf
Timeline: April 2012-July 2013
Photos By: Peter Robins & Gary Hartley