By: Dan Heinfeld, FAIA


Located within the City of Newport Beach at 1601 16th Street for over 45 years, the 4.5-acre Environmental Nature Center has provided educational programs to K-12 schools and community groups with a goal of increasing understanding and appreciation of the natural world. The ENC has one of the largest open spaces in the region with 14 native California landscapes providing education opportunities for over 23.000 school age children each year.  A permanent building completed by LPA in 2006 was the first LEED Platinum building in Orange County and serves as a front door to the gardens. The 9,000 SF project consists of two distinct buildings defining the public and private aspects of the center. The building form supports a 42 kW PV system when paired with the building’s conversation measures (60% better than codes) results in a “net zero” facility, one of the first in the country.

The environment and setting is frankly one of the great hidden treasures in our County that can be enjoyed by walking the trails or just relaxing in one of the landscape areas. It is open seven days a week and free to the public.