The center called on designers and architects around the world to design outdoor shelters that highlight green design. They received over 80 entries, narrowed it down to 12 finalists, and choose six to build and open to the public for one year.
The resulting designs are as varied in aesthetics as they are in materials. The Firefly pod by Rashida Ng and Nami Yamamoto is a compact bedlike bench whose fabric canopy glows in the evening as a result of teh photo-luminescent fabric that charges by day. The Rain Shelter by GCArchitects, Gabriela Sanz Rodgriuez, and Carlos Martinez Mediero looks fit for a children's fantasy movie set (something out of Bridge to Terabithia) and its recycled-wood construction lets it become a fountain in the rain, a prism of light in the sun, and whistle in the wind. The Bird-Seed Shelter by Julia Molloy and Taka Sarui looks fit for hobbits but is designed with the wood's inhabitors in mind: it's made from a mixture of mud, seeds, nuts, and water and will soon be covered in native grasses and flowers that will grow from the walls and birds who will munch on its nutritious offerings.
To see photos of all six designs, click the "View Slideshow" button at the top right-hand corner of this post. For information about visiting the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, visit their website at schuylkillcenter.org.