| Architecture Studies Library
Entry number: UB07034
Statement of Design Approach: Develop an architecture that engages the interpretive story through organization, building features, textures, and views. Generate a variety of spaces that can accommodate different "types" of exhibits. Make a memorable statement to the visitors. Create an icon for the community of Elko.
As a result, the concept evolves as a repetition of thinly veiled vaulted forms arrayed consecutively and in alignment with the topography. This sets a metaphoric vocabulary inspired by the pictorial wagon train that pronounces the Center and accommodates a myriad of exhibit display needs.
For a community that requested that this building become a signature for their region, the design builds on the area's emigrant trail history and the notion of wagons circling along the brow of a hillside bend. Exposed structural wood framing and translucent vaults, as an interpretation of the wagon assemblage, define the architectural expression. This allows for clear-span open space that gives flexibility to the exhibit space, while lending a specific aesthetic that becomes the beacon that the Elko community desired. The mundane enclosure of most Emigrant Trail Interpretive Centers is replaced by an open airy solution that provides natural day lighting and ties the visitor to the panorama of the trail terrain.
Elements of Design: The parti responds to the owners' desire to tell the story in a particular sequence and is generated by the site and metaphor. The owner wished to have the building interact with the visitor as a stage-like setting for the exhibits. With that, window walls in the round Exhibit Atrium offer a natural backdrop to the exhibits, and a water element replicates the Humbolt River. In addition, the vaulted exhibit spaces are reminiscent of a vantage point from within a wagon, and an "undulating" trail-like walking experience is emulated by incorporating a variety of extended interior and exterior ramps that traverse, circle, and oppose the natural lay of the land. These ramps form a linked continuum with surfaces detailed with random stone and roughened aggregate concrete. The main exhibit hall includes footbridges that extend to the outdoors offering the visitor places to pause and take in the views of wide-open terrain that the emigrants once traveled. The theatre and administration offices are placed as more introverted spaces. This plan arrangement creates a wind protected outdoor exhibit area to the north which connects to the existing walking trails up the hill.
Overall, the architecture looks to convey an expression of the community's mission by using the site morphology and historic references to generate an iconic manipulation of space, form, detail and experience.
Material in ASL Library: Form Core Boards, Project Description Form, Exteriors Photos, Location Map, Site Plan, Floor Plan, and Interior Photos
These images are low-resolution reproductions of the images provided for the AIA Nevada Design Awards. All materials should be considered copyrighted and may not be reproduced or used without permission.