Wellfield Gardens Visitor’s Center Modular Office

Our Client:  Wellfield Botanic Gardens (Elkhart, IN)

Partner:  Cripe Design

Architectural Excellence:  Wellfield Gardens, a large public garden on a reclaimed site in Northern Indiana, required a Visitor’s Center for temporary use that will later be repurposed as a bridal cottage for weddings hosted there. The design incorporates classic elements with a stone wainscot and scalloped siding. The high-pitched roofline is augmented with a vaulted entry with oval window and a copper roofed cupola. The pillared entry welcomes visitors with a pair of pillars and vaulted ceiling. The interior is well-appointed with hardwood flooring. Above, wooden trusses are exposed along with a paneled wooden ceiling. Large windows and glass French doors provide ample natural light, with recessed lighting hidden along the perimeter to accent the wood paneled ceiling. The built in desk features a matching wood countertop and both restrooms feature ceramic tiled floors and wainscoting. Hardwood trim at the base and ceiling completes the well-appointed interior.

Technical Innovation + Sustainability:  As a true hybrid construction project blending off-site construction with traditionally built elements, intense coordination was required to avoid gaps or overlaps in the scopes of work. In order to achieve the designer and owner’s aesthetic vision, it was necessary that the modular core of the building blend seamlessly with site-construction. As the building will be relocated in the future, the facility was engineered to support the planned deconstruction and relocation with detailing for removal and reinstallation of elements such as the columns. A temporary and removable roof system was designed to protect the interior from the elements prior to installation of the high-pitched roof. The end result is a building meant for temporary use that lends with an elegant and permanent character. As a public garden, sustainability plays an important role in the client’s work, and the ability of modular construction to repurpose an entire building was crucial.

Cost Effectiveness:  As a public garden with limited funds and a reliance on community volunteers, cost effectiveness of the facility was of great importance. Of equal importance was the need for the temporary Visitors Center to be a visually impressive structure welcoming visitors to the gardens with a well-appointed interior capable of hosting the educational classes frequently held there. By engineering the facility for future relocation, the client was able to quickly provide a visitors center and community gathering space without a wasteful demolition that is both cost and resource inefficient. The building’s second life as a Bridal Cottage will help support the many weddings held there and provide support for an important revenue stream. The modular fabricator managed the project to maximize the use of donated materials from other community supporters and coordinated in-kind donations of time and expertise from local contractors, designers and tradesmen.