RIM Architects | Denali Visitor Center

Denali Visitor Center

Role :
Client :
National Park Service
Total SF :
Sustainability :
LEED Silver

This traditional park visitor center provides a location to provide interpretive exhibits, visitor contact with information bearing park rangers, information about the park, and a theater to watch a movie about the park. Additionally, there are administrative offices and other facilities for park staff. The visitor center is also an opportunity to provide a living example of sustainable design principles. The design was focused on creating a visitor center that absorbs energy from its natural surroundings, compliments its natural surroundings, is constructed with sustainable building materials, and forms a thematic to human cultural awareness.

The careful detailing and use of materials draws inspiration form the hand craftmanship of historic park facilities but is updated and simplified with respect to modern building techniques. Where possible, the linear, crisp lines are replaced by the organic irregularity found in nature. Techniques harmful to the environment have been replaced by more sustainable practices. The new visitor center facilities are pre-aged to appear as though they have grown over time. In the end, the facilities and landscape treatments contribute to a fresh, yet familiar visitor experience, which will serve to heighten awareness of the natural environment, while serving their functional needs with the state-of-the-art facilities.

The U.S. Green Building Council, a non-profit organizations dedicated to sustainable building design and construction, awarded the Denali Visitor Center a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver accreditation rating. This is the highest-rated LEED project in Alaska, and only the second certified building in the state. It is also one of only two LEED-accredited buildings within the National Park System.