Alabama 4-H Center, Environmental Education Building

Columbiana, Alabama

  • FIRM

    Davis Architects


    Alabama 4-H Club Foundation

  • AREA

    17,480 sq.ft.





Alabama 4-H, an organization that aims to develop character and knowledge in young people, operates a training and conference facility on Lay Lake.

It wanted to develop a new environmental education and conference center, which by its design, construction and operation, would result in a minimal draw on non-renewable resources and give high priority to preserving ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$300.00CITATIONSpecialized Facility CitationFEATURED IN2008 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYSpecialized environment. The result is a building that is responsive to the surrounding woods, and incorporates natural and recycled materials inside and out.

Two laboratory classrooms support the 4-H Center’s Environmental Field School, with a shared lab-preparatory area. Both laboratories have access to the outdoors for groups of students and visitors who participate in one- to three-day training sessions. Staff offices, a conference room and an infirmary on the lower floor support the environmental-education functions. The conference facility on the upper level accommodates 300 to 400 people in a large-function area with catering facilities and three flexible seminar rooms. The upper lobby serves as a prefunction space for the conference facility, and the lower lobby with a display area accommodates the busloads of visitors.

The unique “stargazer” deck provides a view of the night sky and a treetop view of nature. The metal roof allows rainwater to be collected, filtered and stored in a tank for fire-protection needs and for flushing toilets. Daylight features were incorporated throughout, as well as the use of recycled and renewable materials. The 17,480-square-foot facility is designed to receive LEED gold certification.

“We like the use of native and recycled materials. Nice large meeting spaces and views. Excellent use of rainwater.”--2008 jury