Marine Education Center  BUILDING DESIGN

Gulf Coast Research Laboratory Marine Education Center, Cedar Point

Studying, analyzing and inventorying the site resulted in a multi-building design choice consisting of 10 primary structures located along the edge of the buildable zones and adjacent to the major habitat types.

GCRL Marine Education Center at Cedar Point
The rebuilt Marine Education Center will be a place of inspiration, providing quality learning experiences to students and visitors of all ages through exhibits, education programs, and outdoor and off-shore field experiences.

Large single purpose structures like the original design tend to be “on” all the time and require large spikes in energy use to bring the whole structure up to optimal operating status after being shut down. Using a multi-building concept ensures that the facility is more energy efficient. The design reduces the heating and cooling footprint by placing all the indoor corridors and walkways outside rather than in the main structure. This saves energy while providing visitors with the type of outdoor-based experience they are seeking when they visit the facility. Thoughtful design allows the buildings to be strategically located in order to reduce impacts to the site and take advantage of the extensive teaching opportunities provided by the uniqueness of the site’s many habitats.

The team at Lake/Flato Architects designed the buildings to look like they were already there, tucked under the existing tree canopy, nestled in the natural landscape and built so that they did not compete with the surrounding natural beauty but served as a complement to the site. 


People Learn About the Outdoors by Being Outdoors!

Our vision for the complex has been built around the idea that people learn about the outdoors by being outdoors.The more time a person spends outdoors, the greater their understanding of nature and environment becomes and there is a corresponding increase in their appreciation for the natural environment and in their responsibility to be good stewards of our natural community. The educational complex was purposefully positioned across the site to facilitate that process.


Miss Peetsy B.

“The new Marine Education Center will be a key piece of the emerging nature-based tourism industry in the Mississippi Gulf Coast region. Visitors will be able to achieve a thorough under-standing of our natural resources, and this is an integral part of the coastal Mississippi experience. They will be able enjoy an interpreted walk in a maritime forest, a guided bayou tour, or an educational experience on the barrier islands.”

Malcom White
Visit Mississippi Director
Mississippi Development Authority