Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Denali Eielson Visitor Center

Government Project

The Eielson Visitor’s Center in Denali National Park was the first federally funded National Park Service building to receive LEED Platinum certification. The new 8,500 square foot facility features a main lobby, exhibit space, a bookstore, first aid room, restrooms, and a small staff apartment. The south facing wall of the building is a vast expanse of windows opening up to the view of the mountainous landscape. The new visitor’s center strives to be an essentially ‘invisible’ building, responsive and adapted to its remote location, extreme climate, and seasonal use. The use of natural materials and a green roof planted with native foliage allows the exterior of the building to blend into the surrounding landscape.

The energy footprint has been minimized as well. Large windows maximize solar gain, reducing the amount of energy needed to light the building during the long, Alaskan summer days. A natural heating system captures heat in the air and then uses that heat to pre-warm incoming air. In the winter months, the building is inaccessible and has been designed to fully shut down. These measures result in the reduction of annual energy costs by 85%.

client: United States National Park Service

architect: United States National Park Service