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The Building Project

Leopold Center courtyard



而且,他们种的树奥尔多·利奥波德and his家庭in the 1930s and 40s are a major building component in the Leopold Center. Incorporating as much local wood as possible made the building integral to ongoing conservation efforts at theLeopold Shack还有农场。

Fitting into the Landscape

The architects and engineers who designed the building thought carefully about its place in the larger landscape and how visitors would experience it – in short, how the Leopold Center would inhabit its world.

Ecological and cultural values determined its placement. The Leopold Center is close to the Shack without overshadowing it. It necessarily sits above the Wisconsin River floodplain, and was built on an already disturbed site (where two houses once stood) rather than in a natural area.




Trees originally planted by the Leopold family were used to construct the building.

Local Materials

In 1935, Leopold chose a worn out, abandoned farm for a family hunting camp. For more than a decade afterward, he and his family planted thousands of trees at the Leopold Shack and Farm to conserve the soil, provide habitat for wildlife, and return beauty and wildness to the exhausted land.

In 2003, foresters determined that these “Leopold pines” were overcrowded and suffering from competition. Drought, disease, wind, or an insect outbreak could kill many of them. Thus, the foresters recommended a careful thinning of the smallest trees to restore the forest’s health. At the same time, an oak woodland on the property was cut to sustain light-loving oaks, an important but dwindling part of the southern Wisconsin landscape.








The building also includes roof overhangs to block the sun in summer, and a “thermal flux zone” to reduce heat flow between the main office and outdoors.


What are these renewable sources? Solar panels on the building’s roof capture the sun’s energy to generate electricity and heat water. Several fireplaces and wood stoves – fed by logging slash and carefully selected trees from the property – reduce our reliance on non-renewable energy such as coal and natural gas.

The center also uses a geothermal energy system for heating, cooling, and ventilating. Compared to the extremes in air temperature that occur during a typical Wisconsin year, underground temperatures remain relatively stable. Geothermal systems take advantage of this, extracting heat from the ground in winter and using it to dissipate heat in summer.