Indian Creek Nature Center Amazing Space, a Ryan-constructed educational and administrative building in Cedar Rapids, IA, is one of only 34 buildings in the world to receive the rigorous Living Building Challenge (LBC) Petal Certification from the International Living Future Institute (ILFI)—a more robust sustainability measurement than LEED. Designed and built as an interactive discovery center as well as a model for sustainable design, Amazing Space is the only Petal Certified nature center building in the world and meets six of the seven standards: a site that coexists with nature, water independence, energy independence, promotion of physical and psychological health, supporting a just and equitable world, and beautiful design.
We built Amazing Space as a blend of leading sustainable practices and beautiful, useable spaces, including a 150-person auditorium, classrooms, offices, interactive watershed table, solar panel energy portal, gift shop and bird room with speakers from the outdoors. We installed 350 photovoltaic roof- and ground-mounted solar panels that produce more than 100 percent of the center’s energy, as well as many other sustainable elements including geothermal heating and cooling systems, solar-thermal water heating, permeable pavers, 20,000-gallon tank fire suppression system and a rainwater reclamation system. Restroom water is filtered and processed on location, green lights indicate when the outdoor temperature and humidity are appropriate for opening windows, nature-inspired design elements are used throughout the building, and almost all building materials were sourced within 500 miles.