RIM Architects | Northwest Arctic Heritage Center

Northwest Arctic Heritage Center

Kotzebue, AK
Role :
Client :
National Park Service
Total SF :

The Western Arctic National Parklands (WEAR) comprise almost 18,000 square miles of some of the most remote areas under jurisdiction of the National Park Service.  They encompass Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Kobuk Valley National Park, and Noatak National Preserve.  These areas cover mountain ranges, entire river systems, a portion of the migration route of the Western Arctic Caribou Herd, and several areas of archeological significance.  They make a unique contribution to the National Parks system because in addition to the preservation of land and wildlife, the subsistence lifestyle that has been evolving in the Inupiaq people for over 10,000 years is also preserved.

The Northwest Arctic Heritage Center is part of WEAR’s interpretive program, aiming to communicate an understanding and appreciation of the national significance of these parks and their resources to the public.  The center is a result of a partnership between the National Park Service and the Northwest Arctic Native Association. Located in Kotzebue, Alaska, the facility provides a cultural center for the widely distributed population of WEAR, as well as an opportunity to share with seasonal visitors the wonder of these remote and rarely seen parklands.

The new 11,400 SF, single story center and maintenance building houses visitor services consisting of the reception/lobby area, permanent and temporary exhibit areas, a multipurpose room and concession areas.  The north end of the facility houses administrative offices for the National Park Service. NPS employees and visitors to the facility have separate entrances.  The main visitor entrance is aligned with the road leading to the building from the airport.