Case Study

Building on Aldo Leopold's Legacy: Aldo Leopold Legacy Center, Baraboo, Wisconsin

Joel Krueger, AIA, hates it when people call the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center one of the greenest buildings in the world. To be fair, the project embodies the modern environmental movement’s conception of green: the net-zero-energy, carbon-neutral project earned 61 points, a new record, in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system. But compare the Legacy Center to the original “Leopold shack” and there’s no contest, says Krueger, who served as the Legacy Center’s project manager for Kubala Washatko Architects. The shack, located near Baraboo, Wisconsin, began life as a chicken coop. Using found materials, the Leopold family turned it into a rustic getaway and a home base for ecological research and land restoration. Daylit and naturally ventilated, the shack used no electricity or potable water. More important, though, it helped give birth to a new understanding of environmental ethics. In it, Aldo Leopold wrote A Sand County Almanac and developed his so-called land ethic, which holds that “a thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”

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Published April 1, 2008 Permalink