"Within the Mojave Desert, the 200,000 acre Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area stands out as a place of wonder. The new Visitor Center serves as the gateway to the Conservation Area and includes a visitor arrival space, classroom with an outdoor patio, gift shop, 300 seat amphitheater, shaded outdoor gathering areas and more than 24,000 square feet of exterior exhibit space. The majority of exhibits are located in passive/active climatically tempered exterior microclimates instead of conventionally air conditioned interior space.Here, 1 million patrons a year are encouraged to become stewards of the Mojave Desert. In lieu of traditional dioramas and videos, outdoor abstract sculptural exhibits are designed to engage visitors in lessons focused upon adjacent natural phenomena which are accessible along a surrounding 13-mile loop road. At the center, visitors are submerged in the relevant science, art, and culture that will enhance their experience in Red Rock Canyon; then, strongly encourage them to explore the real thing.The educational content of the exhibits and the building are inseparable; both introduce visitors to water harvesting, greywater irrigation, climate specific architecture, and the use of shade, humidity, and air movement to temper outdoor space. The Arrival building is sheltered by a roof with broad overhangs that creates an intermediate thermal transition zone and harvests rainwater used for interpretive exhibits and landscape irrigation. High-efficiency mechanical systems were specified, while daylighting, solar water heating, and a 55 kW photovoltaic array convert the regionâ€™s intense sun into free energy. A metal transpired solar wall system provides heating for the rest rooms, allowing the mechanical system in these spaces to be eliminated. The goal is for visitors to leave with a new understanding of resource and energy conservation, buildings that respond appropriately to their environment, products, and ideas to use in their personal lives."