Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center Rehabilitation

Olympic National Park, Washington

How do we update a classic Mission 66-era building in a way that is true to the original mid-century architecture while accommodating increased visitor use?

FFA was selected by the National Park Service (NPS) to provide design services for improvements to the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center’s outdated systems, exhibits, and retail opportunities. Our team approached the project with the intent of designing renovations which would enhance the interior, maintain its connection to the surrounding natural area, improve thermal and HVAC performance, and ensure the building’s longevity for future generations.

Inside, the retail and exhibit spaces were reconfigured to accentuate the existing wooden structure and improve visitor flow. Carpet was removed in order to expose the original concrete floors which were ground down and polished.   The central heating unit was replaced with a new zone-controlled, electric heating system, and single-pane glass windows were removed in favor of new, high-performance glazing designed to eliminate reflection.   FFA also designed an outdoor covered visitor assembly area with accessible seating and drinking fountains to address increased visitor traffic during the summer months.

FFA’s commitment to timeless, contextual designs that celebrate the natural beauty of our Parks can be seen in the careful, subtle design decisions made to preserve the historic integrity of the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center.

Year Completed:
2015
Size:
2,000 sf
Project Contact:
Barbara Clement, AIA, NCARB
Associate Partner, Recreation Market Lead

HISTORY

Built in 1964 by the National Park Service, the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center provides information and interpretation, administrative services and retail support to the 415,000 annual visitors who travel to the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park. The single-story visitor center is located along the rain forest’s meandering Hoh River, situated among giant conifers, ferns and pervasive moss-covered surfaces on a slight plateau surrounded by a natural marsh and minor waterways. The building is directly associated with the work of architect Cecil Doty at the NPS Western Office of Design and Construction and represents a notable example of a regionally-adapted Mission 66 visitor center.

Visitor Information Desk