Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center / nArchitects

Text description provided by the architects. Completed in 2020, the net-zero Jones Beach Energy & Nature educates visitors about the interdependence between energy use and nature, while also providing a significant public amenity and space for a broad community.

Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center / nArchitects - Exterior Photography
Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center / nArchitects - Image 15 of 19

Born out of a public and private partnership spearheaded by New York State Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation in collaboration with Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), this pioneering building and landscape point to a carbon-neutral future for New York State.  Designed as a “chalet for all”, the building functions as a gateway to the stunning natural environment of Jones Beach West End 2, while inspiring visitors to become stewards of the environment. 

Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center / nArchitects - Exterior Photography, Facade

Through the exhibits “The Power of Nature” and “The Nature of Energy”, the center investigates the interdependence of energy and nature, focusing on topics such as the ecosystems of Jones Beach, landscape conservation, habitat restoration, natural energy sources, energy-efficient buildings, renewable energy technologies, and the impact of extreme weather on power networks. 

Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center / nArchitects - Image 16 of 19

At 330’ in length, the linear one-story building rises from foundations belonging to a previous 1960s bathhouse, extended on either side to accommodate the Center’s educational program. As a result of resiliency measures, the building perches above the horizon, providing immersive views of the dunes and the Atlantic Ocean to its South.  Future visitors may one day glimpse the vast offshore Empire Wind Project far out at sea. 

Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center / nArchitects - Interior Photography, Dining room, Table, Chair, Patio
Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center / nArchitects - Exterior Photography, Deck
Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center / nArchitects - Image 17 of 19

A newly constructed landscape, reclaimed from 12 acres of demolished concrete parking, surrounds the building’s other sides with native plant species, immersing it in an expanding natural ecosystem. All the demolished concrete rubble has been reused on site as a sub-base for the new resilient landscape: a poignant transformation of a site previously defined by the presence of thousands of vehicles.

Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center / nArchitects - Interior Photography, Kitchen, Windows, Facade, Beam
Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center / nArchitects - Interior Photography, Beam

The Center is organized around a series of interior volumes that house offices, support spaces, and classrooms, a continuous exhibition space flows from gallery to gallery, spilling out onto a perimeter shaded canopy and amphitheater.  Characterized by sloping roofs and clerestory windows, the interior spaces are luminous. A mass timber roof structure resonates with the warmth of the building’s terracotta-colored radiant tile floor – a material nod to the former brick bathhouse.  

Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center / nArchitects - Interior Photography, Stairs

The roof’s iconic silhouette from the exterior evokes a series of waves – a dynamic element conveying both energy and nature.  A cedar-clad trellis surrounds the building on all sides, enveloping a continuous porch in a changing rhythm of shadows. Bird-safe glass is used at a variety of glazed openings that bring a generous amount of daylight into the Center. As an example of holistic integration between architecture, landscape, ecology, engineering, and exhibition content, the Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center provides a public laboratory for learning how feats of human engineering and forces of nature intertwine and overlap. 

Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center / nArchitects - Exterior Photography, Coast

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