Randy Brown Architects | River Probes
Nebraska gets its name from the archaic Otoe words Ñí Brásge, pronounced [ˌɲĩˈbɾaskɛ] meaning “flat water”, describing the rivers that flow through the state. The rivers of Nebraska may be the states greatest natural resource. The rivers and streams provide a variety of fish and offers habitate for the ducks, pheasant, water fowl and Nebraska’s fur animals: deer, buffalo, elk, etc. The major cities in Nebraska are located along the rivers and pump river water into the water treatment plants to create the city water.
Pollution from factories, urban encroachment, agricultural practices and beef feedlots is affecting the water quality of Nebraska’s rivers. The University’s Aquatic Toxicology Laboratory is preparing to construct environmental research/educational facilities along Nebraska’s seven major rivers.
The challenge was to provide both living, eating, sleeping and scientific areas within a very small 70SF footprint. The River Probes will be a working and living building to allow scientists to live on the rivers in a controlled environment to conduct long term ecological monitoring of the surface quality of the water. The probes will also serve as public observation platforms both to view the rivers natural beauty and to learn about the toxicology and pollution issues facing the rivers today. The holding tanks and experiments will be on display inside the probes with computer touch screens to educate the visitors about the experiments.
The River Probes will provide continuous streaming of data back to the University Laboratory. In addition to raw data from the rivers, videos of experiments conducted at the Probes will be made available on a Nebraska Watershed Network website.Location: Nebraska, USA Architect: Randy Brown Architects Project name: River Probes Site Characteristics: The river probes are located on each of Nebraska’s seven major rivers. Description of client: Aquatic Toxicology Laboratory affiliated with a University. Program: Enclosed structure to house specimen tanks, water testing equipment, computer, satellite feed, video log space, public access and private living/sleeping area for long term residence by scientists. Zoning: Floodway. Corps of Engineers required the floor level of the structure to be located 24″ above the 100 year flood and required no rise certification from a hydro-engineer. Construction systems: Wood frame with steel pilings Funding Source: Grants from the State Natural Resources District, State Fish and Game department, Private Corporations Schedule: Construction to begin in 2011. Square Footage: 70 SF
Projected Cost: $150,000 for one probe, $150,000 for equipment for one probe Lead designer: Randy Brown
Assistants: Chris Turner, Jeff Gillway, Meg O’Mara, Jon Olson