Oxbow Nature Center and Zollman Zoo


Byron, MN


Nature Center


13,000 sf

The Oxbow Nature Center is an asset to the community serving as the entry to the Zollman Zoo as well as providing spaces for learning and engagement with the outdoors. The proposed nature center is approximately 13,000 sf of exhibit space, flexible learning areas, and office. The main structure for the building is exposed glue laminated columns, beams, purlins, and wood decking.

The building form reflects the three primary programmatic functions of the building and creates an appropriate scale. Windows have been optimized on all sides to provide natural lighting and connections to the exterior. The exterior materials take their cue from the existing zoo and include local stone and wood siding.

The iconic hexagonal towers of the zoo remains an important visual reference for the site and has been employed as markers for gathering and way finding. As visitors approach the zoo eyes are drawn to the hexagonal pergola ‘trees’ which provide shade and mark the entrance to the nature center.