Sited partially-sunken into the landscape, this 8,000 sq. ft. visitor center welcomes both visitors and locals, and its design facilitates a transition from our technology-driven world into the natural environment of the refuge.
Project Name: Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
Studio Name: Cushing Terrell
Location: Soldonta, Alaska
Photography: Ken Graham
The new visitor center provides programming year-round and includes a multipurpose room, exhibit hall, bookstore, accessible restrooms, and lobby/seating areas, along with an outdoor exhibit within the surrounding forested habitat.
Incorporating many environmentally-conscious features, the building has a sod roof, PV solar panels, in-floor radiant heating, LED lighting, a natural ventilation system, and a soapstone masonry heater. The $6.1 million project used a design/build delivery method and earned LEED Silver certification.
While the majority of the building is intended to be fairly subdued in its design and integrated into the landscape, the exhibit area, by contrast, floats defiantly above the contours and extends outward into the tree canopy, immersing users into the surrounding forested habitat.