Iain Nicolson Audubon Center Rowe Sanctuary Gibbon, Nebraska
Studio Outside has completed both a master plan and first-phase schematic design for the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary expansion in Nebraska. The site claims five miles of frontage on the Platte River, a world-renowned migration stop-over point for Sandhill Cranes headed north each spring. Planning objectives include habitat restoration strategies, new trails and birding blinds, and expansion of programs to encourage year-round visitation. While the discovery center and blinds look to expand program diversity and capacity, the trails seek to engage visitors with the full cross section of the remnant Platte River that was once celebrated as “a mile wide and an inch deep.” The design team—led by Studio Outside and including Lake Flato Architects and Biohabitats—identified the unique opportunity to design for the specific needs and ergonomics of bird watching while improving year-round program opportunities. The new discovery stations engage wet meadows, prairies, and the river to extend the site’s interpretive storylines, while advancing the sanctuary’s status as a premier crane-viewing destination.