Dubuque, IA

The site lies on the bank of a man-made harbor along the Mississippi River. The River Discovery Center building is located between two existing structures, the historic boat fabrication building and the rebuilt train depot. These buildings are attached to the new building and house other programmatic elements of the Museum and Aquarium complex. The new building is designed to meet LEED certified standards. The museum and interpretive center features aquarium habitats depicting five distinct ecosystems of the Mississippi River including a backwater marsh, flooded bottomland forest, main channel, otter pond, and delta bayou swamp. A nine-foot high aquarium wall shows the underwater world of main channel of the river. Spanning another wall of the spacious building is the world’s most accurate satellite photograph of the entire river system. Outdoors, visitors can wander through a wetland slough that’s inhabited by native waterfowl and songbirds. The collection of boats moored along the edge of the wetlands help to describe the history of the river, and in some cases, some of them were actually built in the boatyard that was active on the site until the seventies. The boatyard is another important part of the museum complex, with exhibits of steam boilers and stacks that were fabricated on site, along with other artifacts.

(with EHDD architecture)