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Idlewild Park Nature Center

LERA was the structural engineer for a new 5,000-sf nature center located in the Idlewild Park Saltwater Marsh in Queens. Doubling as an educational facility and community center in an area underserved for both, the center offers exhibit space, offices, classrooms, a small gift shop and a kitchenette. The overall layout and structure of the building was driven by a “porch” concept: program spaces are located under a singular roof, with an outdoor classroom set back under column supports. The roof structure is composed of wood framing supported on structural steel posts, which are launched from the ground floor framing, with large spans over the exhibition space and outdoor terrace.

The angled roof channels stormwater run-off into a rain garden that flows into a storm surge channel recently created to mitigate flooding, while the layered, permeable façade, with a lattice of differing densities, was inspired by the principles of filtration—filtering light and air instead of water—and is meant to evoke the surrounding marshland habitat.


Queens, NY



NYC Department of Parks and Recreation


Handel Architects

Landscape Architect


*Image Credits

Handel Architects (First 17 images)

LERA (Last 19 Images)

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