Monmouth Battlefield State Park Visitor Center

CompanyIkon.5 Architects
Lead Designerikon.5 architects
Design TeamJoseph Tattoni, FAIA Arvind Tikku, AIA Dan Cummings, AIA Michael Herbst, AIA
PrizeArchitectural Design / Cultural Architecture

Monmouth Battlefield State Park Visitor Center is a portal and orientation to a historic battlefield that figured prominently in the American Revolutionary War. The building replaces an underutilized structure built for the Bicentennial with a more open pavilion that places primacy on the landscape of the battlefield as an important artifact. Through its siting and generous use of large expanses of glass, the pavilion dramatically changes the visitor experience and frames views of the battlefield that were previously obscured. Sited at the top of Combs Hill overlooking the Battlefield, the pavilion is conceived as a modern day primitive hut, templar in its siting, but diminutive in its appearance. Like a floating cloud above the summit, the visitor center is a one story structure that creates a cantilevered roof solar shade that frames views and protects the exhibits from the sun. In addition to the solar shade, the design incorporates a number of sustainable features in achieving a LEED Gold certification. The majority of the exterior of the enclosure is triple glazed low-e laminated glazing units permitting the maximum views, but minimizing heat gain and lost. The new visitor center occurs within the bounds of the existing site and land is not additionally disturbed to commence with this project. The new visitor center and renovated portions of the existing building is heated and cooled with a geo-thermal system. Rain water is collected on the roof and is channeled into a rain garden feature at the entry to the visitor center. Natural grasses and flora are planted adjacent to the structure to minimize maintenance and to encourage indigenous birds and reptiles to live on top of Combs Hill again.