flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
catfish1 - bottom
Currently Reading

Leo A Daly's minimally invasive approach to remote field site design [BD+C's 2014 Great Solutions Report]

Leo A Daly's minimally invasive approach to remote field site design [BD+C's 2014 Great Solutions Report]

For the past six years, Leo A Daly has been designing sites for remote field stations with near-zero ecological disturbance. 


By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | December 29, 2014
Photo courtesy Leo A Daly, NEON
Photo courtesy Leo A Daly, NEON

For the past six years, architecture/engineering firm Leo A Daly has been designing sites for remote field stations that are collecting environmental data across the country on behalf of the National Ecological Observatory Network, an independent nonprofit entity funded by the National Science Foundation.

Over its 30-year lifespan, NEON’s 106 aquatic and terrestrial sites will track climate conditions, land-use changes, and data on invasive species. The sites have been selected to represent different regions of vegetation, landforms, climate, and ecosystem performance.

One difficult design problem, according to Elizabeth Hunter, the firm’s Project Manager for NEON, has been complying with a mandate of near-zero ecological disturbance. “NEON’s engineers wanted to build [the field stations] with a hovercraft and not disturb anything,” she says, only half jokingly. Leo A Daly, which has designed structures for national parks, had to find ways to meet NEON’s demands using equipment no bigger nor more intrusive than a small skid steer loader.

Case in point: the instrument hut and tower for a site called Dead Lake, near Demopolis, Ala. The site is located close to the Black Warrior River and is susceptible to flooding. NEON has strict criteria about enclosing its instruments within a continuous foundation, so the design team called for the tower to be built on a foundation supported by piers five feet off the ground that allow floodwaters to pass through. The station went live in 2013.

 

 

The sites are mostly self sufficient, but have to be accessible by scientists, who visit the sites periodically to collect data and recalibrate the equipment. At Dead Lake, an elevated metal boardwalk wiggles its way around trees and other obstructions from the site to a staging area a couple of hundred feet away.

Hunter says the buildout of 60 towers and 46 aquatic sites—including 40 relocatable structures—should be completed by 2017. The towers range in height from 26 to 300 feet and take two to six months to build. The sites cost anywhere from under $500,000 to more than $1 million each. 

Read about more innovations from BD+C's 2014 Great Solutions Report

Related Stories

Healthcare Facilities | May 28, 2024

Healthcare design: How to improve the parking experience for patients and families

Parking is likely a patient’s—and their families—first and last touch with a healthcare facility. As such, the arrival and departure parking experience can have a profound impact on their experience with the healthcare facility, writes Beth Bryan, PE, PTOE, PTP, STP2, Principal, Project Manager, Walter P Moore.

Urban Planning | May 28, 2024

‘Flowing’ design emphasizes interaction at Bellevue, Wash., development

The three-tower 1,030,000-sf office and retail development designed by Graphite Design Group in collaboration with Compton Design Office for Vulcan Real Estate is attracting some of the world’s largest names in tech and hospitality. 

MFPRO+ News | May 28, 2024

ENERGY STAR NextGen Certification for New Homes and Apartments launched

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently launched ENERGY STAR NextGen Certified Homes and Apartments, a voluntary certification program for new residential buildings. The program will increase national energy and emissions savings by accelerating the building industry’s adoption of advanced, energy-efficient technologies, according to an EPA news release. 

Women in Design+Construction | May 28, 2024

Commerce Department launches Million Women in Construction Community Pledge

The U.S. Department of Commerce launched its Million Women in Construction Community Pledge this month to boost the ranks of women in construction companies. Federal investments are creating a construction boom that is increasing job opportunities for construction and trade workers.

Laboratories | May 24, 2024

The Department of Energy breaks ground on the Princeton Plasma Innovation Center

In Princeton, N.J., the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has broken ground on the Princeton Plasma Innovation Center (PPIC), a state-of-the-art office and laboratory building. Designed and constructed by SmithGroup, the $109.7 million facility will provide space for research supporting PPPL’s expanded mission into microelectronics, quantum sensors and devices, and sustainability sciences. 

MFPRO+ News | May 24, 2024

Austin, Texas, outlaws windowless bedrooms

Austin, Texas will no longer allow developers to build windowless bedrooms. For at least two decades, the city had permitted developers to build thousands of windowless bedrooms.

Resiliency | May 24, 2024

As temperatures underground rise, so do risks to commercial buildings

Heat created by underground structures is increasing the risk of damage to buildings, recent studies have found. Basements, train tunnels, sewers, and other underground systems are making the ground around them warmer, which causes soil, sand, clay and silt to shift, settle, contract, and expand.

Sports and Recreational Facilities | May 23, 2024

The Cincinnati Open will undergo a campus-wide renovation ahead of the expanded 2025 tournament

One of the longest-running tennis tournaments in the country, the Cincinnati Open will add a 2,000-seat stadium, new courts and player center, and more greenspace to create a park-like atmosphere.

Mass Timber | May 22, 2024

3 mass timber architecture innovations

As mass timber construction evolves from the first decade of projects, we're finding an increasing variety of mass timber solutions. Here are three primary examples.

MFPRO+ News | May 21, 2024

Massachusetts governor launches advocacy group to push for more housing

Massachusetts’ Gov. Maura Healey and Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll have taken the unusual step of setting up a nonprofit to advocate for pro-housing efforts at the local level. One Commonwealth Inc., will work to provide political and financial support for local housing initiatives, a key pillar of the governor’s agenda.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category



MFPRO+ News

ENERGY STAR NextGen Certification for New Homes and Apartments launched

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently launched ENERGY STAR NextGen Certified Homes and Apartments, a voluntary certification program for new residential buildings. The program will increase national energy and emissions savings by accelerating the building industry’s adoption of advanced, energy-efficient technologies, according to an EPA news release. 


halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021