The Humphrey Nature Center at Letchworth State Park

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The Humphrey Nature Center at Letchworth State Park

Castile, NY
Year Completed
Building Type
New Build
6,000 sq. ft.
Letchworth State Park

The Humphrey Nature Center at Letchworth State Park is a new construction education facility that serves as a museum, classroom, and general assembly area for Letchworth State Park, which was voted the top state park in the country by USA Today readers in 2015. While the majority of funding was through the New York State Parks Capital program, there was a philanthropic campaign lead by Peter Humphrey, Chairman of the Genesee Regional Parks Commission, who secured $3.2 million dollars in grants and private donations.

The facility is an energy efficient example of modern construction by leveraging a solar power array, recapturing rain water for irrigation, and using super insulated structural panel (SIPs) to reduce overall energy costs. The main structure is Heavy Timber with field stone veneer that was site harvested, respectfully nodding to the characteristic of the park and making use of indigenous materials. The reception desk transaction counter was fabricated with lumber from a tree that was felled during construction.

The exhibit area is designed to be informative and interactive. The gorge wall is a scale replica of the sheer rock face as it has been formed over time by the Genesee River to give viewers a sense of the magnitude of the site. The display area has interactive exhibits for exploration by students young and old. The two classroom spaces can be combined to create one large assembly space for special park functions.