Sweetwater Creek State Park Visitor Center: Lithia Springs, GA
Before entering a 2,549-acre conservation park, visitors are welcomed by a center that, through sustainable design, contributes to the park's purpose of protecting nature. Sweetwater Creek State Park Visitor Center orients and educates park users on the natural and cultural resources of the park. A large exhibit area includes information on the nearby ruins of the New Manchester Manufacturing Company, a textile mill burned during the Civil War. The building also includes retail areas, administrative offices, audiovisual/multipurpose rooms, a water quality lab/classroom and restrooms. With electric lights off or dimmed during daylight hours, 41% of the total building area uses daylight as the dominant light source. Vegetated green roofs act as a heat sink and moderate the temperature differentials between the building interior and exterior air. Twin interior lightshelves below clerestory windows bounce daylight into the main exhibition space.