Grange Insurance Audubon Center


Located on the Whittier Peninsula of the Scioto River just south of downtown Columbus, Ohio, the Grange Insurance Audubon Center represents a catalyst for change by connecting urban youth with their natural environment. The LEED® Gold Audubon Center anchors the redevelopment of this one time brown field that has been the site of industrial facilities, warehouses and an automobile impound lot. The new 84 acre Scioto Audubon Metro Park site is a designated “important bird area” or IBA by the National Audubon Society because it is positioned on a major migratory bird flyway.

The 18,000 s.f. Audubon Center is a model for sustainable design and promotes the economic, health and aesthetic benefits of building green. The nature center celebrates the tension between contrasting elements — urban / natural, riverine / meadow and indoor / outdoor. The building’s massing, orientation, materials and mechanical systems work in concert to create an interactive facility for exploring environmental awareness, habitat restoration, conservation practices and sustainable strategies. The building is a study of architectural simplicity in building material and form, quietly nesting within its natural surroundings.

  • OWNER – Grange Insurance Audubon Center Columbus and Franklin County Metropolitan Park District City of Columbus, Department of Recreation and Parks
  • ARCHITECT - DesignGroup
  • MEP ENGINEER - Heapy Engineering, Inc.
  • STRUCTURAL ENGINEER - Shelley Metz Baumann Hawk, Inc.
  • CIVIL ENGINEER - Burgess & Niple, Ltd.
  • LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT - Kinzelman Kline Gossman
  • ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANTS - Williams Creek Consulting
  • GENERAL CONTRACTOR - Gutkencht Construction
  • EXHIBIT DESIGN - Kraemer Design + Production, Inc.


  • Vegetated roof
  • Geothermal ground-source heat pump system
  • Passive solar design
  • Mixed-mode ventilation
  • 50% less energy used than a conventional building
  • 88% of spaces are daylit
  • 7 Acres of brownfield remediated

OUR WATER (Olentangy Urban Rainscapes) Green Infrastructure Project

_DSC0119 Neighborhood of Weinland Park, Columbus Ohio, 2011-2014 Project Partners: Project Lead/Design – Integrity Sustainable Planning and Design Educational Partner – Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed Quantitative Assessment – MAD Scientist and Associates Qualitative Assessment – Diversified Data Installation – Oakland Nursery Maintenance – Monica Desenberg, Neighborhood Resident Developer – Wagenbrenner Company _DSC0224The OUR Water (Olentangy Urban Rainscapes) pilot project is located in an older low-income Columbus brownfield neighborhood currently being serviced by a combined sanitary and storm water sewer system. The project has been carefully crafted to educate Weinland Park neighborhood residents about practical approaches for reducing their watershed footprint and for taking personal ownership of the watershed where they live in a more sustainable way. Project elements include front yard rain gardens that accept roof rainwater into appropriately sized, slightly depressed planted bed areas filled with a permeable gravel/soil mix, reducing the flow of site water into storm drains and minimizing subsequent erosion, water pollution, flooding, and diminished groundwater. A selection of native and adaptive plants has been carefully chosen for their tolerance of a seasonally wet environment, absorption of water, and for their ability to attract local wildlife. These showy grasses, shrubs and flowering perennials offer a beautiful street-side view and provide increased water infiltration capacity. Homeowners have the opportunity to select from a palette of styles and colors with a professional landscape design team to add a custom touch to their front yard rain garden. _DSC0197Curbside Rain Gardens collect and filter storm water from front sidewalks and streets. These rain gardens, located between the curb and sidewalk, feature lush street side plantings installed in a below-grade permeable gravel/soil mixture used to maximize the absorption of the water nd the trapping of pollutants and silt. These bioswale plantings are both traditionally mulched and top-dressed with local river pebbles for additional aesthetic appeal.Pre- and post-installation qualitative assessment interviews have been conducted to gauge the neighborhoods opinion of the success of project. Ongoing quantitative data is being collected from in-ground monitoring equipment in the front yard and curbside rain gardens. Attractive rain barrels were furnished to participating homeowners, and maintenance was provided by a neighborhood resident through a job-training component of the project. _DSC0155This project was part of an urban housing redevelopment and neighborhood upliftment project funded by federal dollars through the Neighborhood Stabilization Project and by state dollars through an Ohio EPA Environment Education (OEEF) Grant. The project team presented this project at the International EcoSummit and the MORPC Summit in 2012 and at the National EPA Brownfields Conference in 2013. The project team is currently in conversation with the neighborhood and several funders to allow expansion of the OUR project in Weinland Park.    

Project Profile LEED Platinum Hocking College Energy Institute

hocking-energy-.104117OWNER – Hocking College
ARCHITECT - DesignGroup
MEP ENGINEER - Heapy Engineering, Inc.
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER - Shelley Metz Baumann Hawk, Inc.
GENERAL CONTRACTOR - Robertson Construction Services

View the complete project profile in PDF format.

  The Hocking College Energy Institute, located on the Logan campus of Hocking College, is the State of Ohio’s first LEED® Platinum educational building. The project received a total of 56 out of 69 points encompassing each category of LEED NC 2.2. It earned more points than any other project in the State of Ohio under the LEED NC rating system. The building uses less than half the energy of a conventional building the same size and use. It also meets the AIA 2030 Challenge for energy efficiency.

Designed in a BIM environment, this 12,200 square foot facility serves as the flagship building for Hocking College’s growing Advanced Energy, Fuel Cell, and Vehicular Hybrid programs. Alternative energy vehicles can be fueled using the facility’s compressed natural gas refueling station and electric vehicle plug-in refueling stations. The facility houses a variety of curriculum spaces for sustainable technologies and is designed to engage students in a hands-on learning process. The building’s mechanical and electrical systems are visible and function as learning tools for students. The passive solar design reduces cooling loads in the summer & heating loads in the winter. Additionally, bioswales & extended detention ponds reduce storm water runoff. And to top it all off, using native Ohio prairie plants throughout the site, the facility also includes a 4,000 s.f. green roof planted with native vegetation that reduces storm water runoff.

Georgian Heights Elementary School

GeorgianHeights4-520x312 This new elementary school for the Columbus City School District replaced an older, smaller school in the district. The new facility was built on the same site after demolition of the existing school. The new school has been designed for up to 550 students and received LEED® Gold Certification in 2013. The new school features separate dining and gym spaces which can be used in conjunction with each other, a media center, special needs classrooms, an art room and music room. In association with Burt Hill, a Stantec Company, M+A designed this new school to interact with the school’s environmental learning program with exterior learning and play areas. Many public meetings were held to show neighbors, students and parents, and faculty plans for the new school and gather their feedback. The new schools was completed on time ready in plenty of time for the start of the 2012-2013 school year. For more information on the Georgian Heights Elementary School view M+A Architects portfolio entry.