The Dixon Water Foundation Josey Pavilion
Lake Flato architects of San Antonio designed the facility to meet the Living Building Challenge, the most rigorous international green-building certification. The stringent Living Building Challenge requirements for Net Zero Water and Ecological Water Flow are met by treating wastewater onsite to reuse for irrigation and employing a water feature to reduce peak flows while creating an aesthetic amenity. Just as Dixon Ranches show how cattle can be members of healthy range ecosystems, the Betty and Clint Josey Pavilion achieves the same ecological balance.
“Living Buildings are designed to function as elegantly and efficiently as a flower. A flower creates its own energy from the sun. It collects the water it needs from moisture in its immediate environment. It does not pollute. It creates habitat for other species. It’s a part of an ecosystem, a beautiful thread in the living tapestry around it. Like a flower, the Josey Pavilion is a self-sufficient part of the tall-grass prairie around it. It generates its own solar energy. It collects storm water and pumps no more groundwater than it returns to the aquifer underground. Wastewater is treated in a constructed wetland at the entrance to the building. The pavilion was built with non-toxic and renewable or salvaged materials, which were sourced as locally as possible. It is a tranquil, comfortable place that—like all of the Dixon Water Foundation’s ranches—connects people with the land that sustains them.” – Dixon Water Foundation
The Dixon Water Foundation Josey Pavilion is a meeting and education center with aspirations to be the first Living Building Challenge™ project in the State of Texas and Gulf Coast region. The Living Building Challenge™ is a rigorous certification program that advocates for a fully restorative building. The 5,400-square-foot open air pavilion is an education and meeting center that also serves as a demonstration site for the Dixon Water Foundation, whose mission is to promote healthy watersheds through sustainable land management, ensuring the preservation of our water resources.
“It is really hard meeting such a super, difficult challenge, such as the Living Building Challenge, and to do that with such a design that is so thoughtful and detailed, is just fantastic.” – Joan M. Soranno FAIA
Juror / AIA San Antonio Design Awards
The Dixon Water Foundation broke ground on June 17 on the Betty and Clint Josey Pavilion, which aspires to be the first “Living Building” in Texas.
The 5,000-square-foot pavilion will be a site for meetings and educational events at the Dixon Ranches Leo Unit in Cooke County. Lake|Flato architects of San Antonio have designed the facility to meet the Living Building Challenge, the most rigorous international green-building certification. Construction is expected to finish later this year.
To meet the standard, the pavilion will generate all of its own clean, renewable energy and capture and treat its own water. Building materials will be non-toxic and sourced responsibly and as locally as possible.
The Living Building Challenge is a natural fit for the Dixon Water Foundation’s mission of promoting healthy watersheds through sustainable land management. The Leo Unit is one of four Dixon Ranches where the foundation demonstrates environmentally and economically sound ways to manage rangeland. The foundation’s other ranches are in Cooke and Parker counties and Marfa, Texas.
The pavilion is named after Clint Josey, the foundation’s vice-president and board chairman, and his wife, Betty. As landowners, the Joseys have been advocates of holistic land management for 30 years.
Design a comfortable meeting and education facility to shelter those that come to learn how the Dixon Water Foundation uses livestock as a tool to restore our native prairies and create healthier watersheds. The facility was to have no active heating or cooling and be designed to adapt according to the weather conditions on any particular day. This led to a building that could fold and unfold based on temperature and wind conditions. A building that embraced the simplicity and serenity of the North Texas prairie while serving as a lens through which the land is better understood and appreciated.
Living Building that would seek the same ecological equilibrium achieved at Dixon Water Foundation ranches while creating an immersive experience of biophilic place. The building now goes well beyond the criteria of providing shelter for learning and tells a stronger story that expands the audience of the Dixon Water Foundation and fully supports a deeper understanding of rangeland conservation and its important collateral benefits, including carbon sequestration and water, energy, and ecosystems balance.
The building consists of two identical, low slung, gabled roofs that form a shady courtyard around a Heritage Live Oak and then are slightly pulled apart to allow for a large, shared gutter that celebrates the value of collected rainwater. Upon entry, visitors see the termination of the shared gutter where rain chains descend into a concrete trough fed by recirculating collected rainwater. This shallow trough provides habitat for birds and mammals while serving as an element of enjoyment for visitors that sit along the porch, hear the trickling of the water, and appreciate the role the water plays in cooling the summer breezes that pass over the trough. Overflow from this trough is captured by a series of swales that slows down the stormwater, allowing it to gradually seep into the ground nourishing the Live Oak and replenishing the Trinity Aquifer below.
The Josey Pavilion was designed to act like a singular tree on the prairie. Just like the Heritage Live Oak that defines the site, the building tempers the climate and enhances visitor experience by shading the sun, blocking the wind, and providing protected views. Though protected, visitors are still connected to the outside, experiencing filtered daylight and natural ventilation in every space of the project.
The main meeting space is oriented along an east-west axis, ideal for both daylight and natural ventilation, with slatted doors on the north and south and a central rooftop cupola to allow light and air into the space. Each of the other, more enclosed spaces, employ similar strategies to provide daylight, views, and fresh air.
Though simple, nothing about the design of these strategies was taken for granted. Simulations were used to ensure that daylight would be adequate and even a CFD analysis was used to study air flow through and around the space. After completion, daylight measurements confirmed that the spaces were bright and visually comfortable while air quality testing confirmed that the air inside each of the spaces was just as fresh and clean as the air over the prairie.
The Josey Pavilion acts as a demonstration tool for how to mitigate the negative effects of waste and storm water. Rainwater is collected from the roof and stored in a 13,000-gallon cistern. This water is used for sewage conveyance and occasional irrigation needs. The constructed wetland cleanses and returns all of the water used in the pavilion back to the aquifer. Thus the groundwater pumped into the pavilion’s sinks eventually becomes groundwater again. In this way, as guests interact with the project’s water systems, they are connected with a small-scale water cycle that parallels how rain is collected in a watershed, used by plants and people, processed by wetlands—nature’s kidneys — and returned to aquifers belowground.
“This is the perfect example of design excellence and sustainability working hand-in-hand. Elegant bioclimatic response to program and site. The vernacular forms fit the site and are appropriate to the Foundation’s mission of sustainable agriculture. We loved that the design allowed much of the program to function without conditioned interior space. Who needs walls? The architects thought outside of the box. The jury particularly appreciated the clarity of thought, the elegance of the parti, reinforced by a simple palette of locally sourced, low-carbon materials. Beautifully detailed.” – Jury Comments / AIA Top Ten Awards
Lake Flato Architects:
With aspirations to be the first Living Building project in Texas, this 5,400-square-foot open-air pavilion is an education and meeting center that serves as a demonstration site for the Dixon Water Foundation. The project physically embodies their mission to promote healthy watersheds through sustainable land management, ensuring the preservation of our water resources.
The building’s simple, low lying forms speak to the surrounding native prairie as the pavilion works in concert with nature. The complex consists of two similarly scaled buildings connected by a shady porch; one includes a herbarium, restroom and kitchen, while the other houses a multi-purpose space for education events. Designed to be flexible and adapt to climatic conditions year round, the structure captures cool breezes in summer and blocks cold winter winds. The structure’s deep overhangs and existing heritage Live Oak provide shade and shelter in the central gathering space. Gapped wood doors can be opened to allow maximum ventilation through the central gathering space and along the porches. The rooftop cupola provides daylight for the central pavilion while also drawing hot air out.
Designed as a fully restorative Living Building, the project represents the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment. 100% of wastewater is treated onsite and returned to the natural water cycle. At least 100% of the energy used is produced by solar panels and testing has confirmed that indoor air quality is almost indistinguishable from surrounding outdoor fresh air. Only building materials that have a low environmental impact and no adverse effects to human health were used in the entire project. Natural materials and human scaled spaces create a tranquil environment that connects people with the landscape in a holistic, non-intrusive way that supports the Foundation’s mission.
Project name: Josey Pavilion
Location: 4528 County Road 398, Decatur, Texas 76243, United States
Coordinates: 33.446658, -97.390014
Type: Meeting / Conference / Banquet, Pavilion, Community Centre
Gross Floor Area: 5,400 sq.ft / 486 sqm
Completion Date/Year: January, 2014
Visit The Dixon Water Foundation’s website: here
Client / Owner / Developer: Dixon Water Foundation
Architects: Lake Flato Architects – 311 3rd St, San Antonio, TX 78205, United States
MEP Engineer: TLC Engineering for Architecture
Structural Engineer: Datum Engineers
Civil Engineer: Biohabitats
Text Description: © Courtesy of Lake Flato Architects, Dixon Water Foundation, Biohabitats
Images: © Lake Flato Architects, Dixon Water Foundation, Casey Dunn, Dror Baldinger