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Cusano Center at Tinicum

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Cusano Environmental Education Center at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge
(Cusano Center at Tinicum)

The entrance to Cusano Center is shown in this photo.
Photo credit: Barry Halkin


  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Building type(s): Assembly, Interpretive Center, Retail, Park
  • New construction
  • 18,000 ft2 (1,670 m2)
  • Project scope: multiple buildings
  • Urban setting
  • Completed January 2001
    Two buildings were constructed by January 2001. A third building, for administrative offices, will be constructed in the future.

The Cusano Environmental Education Center (CEEC) is located at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum in Philadelphia. The project consists of two buildings—a classroom building and an exhibit building—linked by a boardwalk. A third building, for administrative offices, will be constructed in the future. The CEEC's three main goals are: preserving and restoring Tinicum marsh, promoting environmental education, and providing visitors with an opportunity to study wildlife in its natural habitat.

Environmental Aspects

The mission of the CEEC is to demonstrate, within an urban setting, the importance of the natural world to human quality of life and to inspire visitors to become responsible stewards of the environment. In support of this mission, the designs for the site, building, and exhibits have been closely integrated to uphold the principles of sustainable design.

The key sustainable design attributes of the CEEC plan focus on energy, construction materials, and water use. In addition, the educational and interpretive goals of the CEEC were given high priority in the building design.

Owner & Occupancy

  • Owned and occupied by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Federal government
  • Typically occupied by 10 people, 40 hours per person per week; and 700 visitors per week, 2 hours per visitor per week

Building Programs

Indoor Spaces:

Restrooms, Other, Retail general, Greenhouse, Classroom

Outdoor Spaces:

Wildlife habitat, Interpretive landscape


Integrated team, Wildlife habitat, Wetlands, Indigenous vegetation, Water harvesting, Graywater, Recycled materials, Local materials, Certified wood, Daylighting, Ventilation effectiveness

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