Metal Architecture Magazine highlights the interpretive aspects of Catalyt's San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center

APRIL 5, 2014
"A metal roof, combined with a rough timber frame and tall windows, was a natural fit for the refuge and the agrarian roots of the Central Valley region," Ackerman says. "The inverted roof design over the administrative wing of the facility is symbolic of the wings of a bird in flight, which interprets the refuge's role as a vital migratory stopover point along the Pacific Flyway for large concentrations of waterfowl, shorebirds and other waterbirds."

"According to Matthew Ackerman, LEED-AP AIA, principal of Catalyst Architecture, the firm specializes in "place-based interpretive design," which means the architecture interprets, or "tells the story" of a place from its cultural, historic and/or physical characteristics. For this project, the firm interpreted a number of different aspects of the refuge through the architecture, leading to the choice of metal as an exterior cladding. "The architectural legacy of the Central Valley is largely one of agrarian buildings," Ackerman explains. They especially looked at a lot of the old barn structures that had tin metal roofs and metal siding. "We noticed that metal was a really common building material for the older barn structures in the region, just as the old wooden timbers were."

-Marcy Marro, Editor Metal Architecture Magazine

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