Nicandri Nature Center at Robert Moses State Park

New, Sustainable Nature Center Provides Learning Opportunities to Community

The new Nicandri Nature Center at Robert Moses State Park is designed to serve as an educational hub for students of all ages to be taught the benefits of engaging with nature, as well as an inspiration for practicing the principles of environmental sustainability.

The 9,400 sq. ft. facility, which provides a home for the Friends of Robert Moses State Park Nature Center, offers office space, a large welcoming entrance hall, an exhibit hall, flexible classroom/labs, and support functions such as a kitchenette, a gift shop, and a ski rental area. As a leader in responsible uses of energy, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) required that the new center attain a LEED Silver Certification rating.

While the architectural style of the building is intended to compliment the original structures in the park, with the use of natural stone and exposed wood structure, the facility also incorporates state-of-the-art technologies and innovative sustainable design features. For example, the HVAC system uses geothermal wells to significantly reduce energy, and rain water is collected in a large cistern to be recycled for irrigation.

The new building is placed at the rear of property, nestled into the existing trees, immersed into the natural setting. The existing arc of the entrance road is extended to create a one-way traffic loop, with a visitor drop off area, convenient parking, and a separate area for school buses and temporary parking for recreational vehicles. The green space in the middle of the loop road serves as a biofiltration area for stormwater runoff, functioning as a natural meadow for non-invasive native plant species.

Nature Center Floor Plan
Nature Center Site Plan

An Award-Winning Project

In 2017, this project received a Community Award from the American Institute of Architects.


“A nice piece of simple, understated architecture and a good visual representation of the state’s reinvestment in our park system statewide.”

“It demonstrates the spirit of the Community Award in its programmatic contribution to the community, its site sensitivity, and most of all its attention to sustainability.”

~ AIA WNY Jury Comments