Hennepin Canal Visitors Center + DNR Regional Office

Unbuilt Design Award Submission

The building will be located in a wooded site along the historic Hennepin Canal in Rock Falls, Illinois. The program includes a 4,000 s.f. Visitor’s Center and 10,000 s.f. of DNR offices.

The design expresses the program components - Visitors Center and Regional Offices– in distinct volumes, one public the other private, connected by a glass bridge spanning wetlands. The curved footprint embraces the wetlands, which will also be utilized as a hands-on interpretive exhibit for visitors. The public functions, which include Exhibit Gallery and Presentation Room, are articulated as the “head” of the two-part building. The private component consists of a central open work area flanked on both sides by closed offices. In plan, the office volumes are shifted to open up opposite corners of the building to capture views into the woodlands.

The dramatic roof form is conceived as a tent-like canopy strung between trees. It consists of an inverted gable with a radiused valley sweeping diagonally through the space. The roof floats above the office volumes as a powerful visual counterpoint to the vertical lines of trees. Rainwater is collected in the roof valley and released into the filtering wetlands at opposite ends.

Teng + Associates
Rock Falls, Illinois