Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center

Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington

How do we design a new sustainable interpretive center at the heart of Mt. Rainier's National Historic Landmark District?

The Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center, which replaced the Mission 66 era visitor center in 2009, is a durable, energy-efficient structure harmoniously integrated with the surrounding landscape and historic buildings in the Paradise National Historic Landmark District.

Through the use of simple historic forms and natural materials, this structure is an expression of contemporary northwest rustic architecture. The building echoes the forms of the surrounding buildings and landscape, with large windows allowing full appreciation of the scenery. Predominant materials are concrete, wood and metal – emphasizing simplicity and durability. The building is designed to withstand the harsh weather conditions associated with this sub-alpine environment while providing for year-round visitor enjoyment. The major interior public spaces open directly onto outdoor plazas allowing visitor overflow to the exterior during good weather. Visitors benefit from a full array of services, including interpretive exhibits, a park films, books and related resources, food service, and 24-hour shelter from unexpected storms.

The FFA team completed pre-design planning through construction administration/construction management services working in partnership with the National Park Service to provide an award-winning, lasting contribution to our national park system.

Year Completed:
2009
Size:
14,000 sf
Construction Cost:
$17.4 million
Project Contact:
Barbara Clement, AIA, NCARB
Associate Partner, Recreation Market Lead
Recognitions:

Portland Chapter AIA, People’s Choice Award;
LEED Silver Equivalent

Experiential Sketch
Truss Model Study
Connection Detail
Solid Concrete Base

SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL

The Paradise area at Mount Rainier, where the visitor center is located (elevation of 5,400 feet), is known for its intense snowfall. Paradise once held the world record for measured snowfall in single year in 1971-1972: 1,122 inches (93.5 feet/28.5 meters). Snowfall is measured at the official Paradise weather station and is recorded in inches.