Gulf State Park Learning Campus receives AIA Alabama Design Honor Award

A hub for park visitors, K-12 students, rotating researchers, and park staff, the Gulf State Park Learning Campus offers classrooms, laboratories, flexible meeting spaces, and lodging options. ArchitectureWorks received an AIA Alabama Design Honor Award for the Learning Campus’s eco-focused, open-air design.

Built on a previously developed area in an evergreen forest, this LEED Silver awarded project demonstrates sustainable building practices and cultivates stewardship through interactive environmental programming. The site design of the Campus encourages visitors to park the car and use a network of pedestrian trails, creating various experiences amid native longleaf pines and live oaks. The Student Lodge, equipped with 64 bunk beds and 2 private rooms, and a Community Restaurant are a short walk-in-the-woods away from a collection of Classrooms and a 200-seat Auditorium. Connected by boardwalks and characterized by screened porches nestled under the trees, the Classrooms and Auditorium provide a variety of learning opportunities. Together, they form Gulf State Park’s primary learning destination for exhibits and formal research.

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Photography: Cary Norton (exterior) and Valor Hospitality (interior)