Eielson Visitor Center

  • Location Denali National Park, AK
  • Client RIM Architects
  • Owner U.S. National Park Service
  • On Denali’s Doorstep

    Grand view of the mountain called “The Great One.”

  • Connect with Nature

    Wilderness and wildlife continuously displayed.

Experience Alaska’s most popular park. The U.S. National Park Service wanted this replacement visitor center to celebrate Denali’s majesty unobtrusively while it provided the features expected of a flagship destination. Recessed into the hillside with tundra sod on the exposed roof, Reid Middleton’s structural design allowed this important, low-profile facility to practically disappear from view.  Key visible structural features — the exposed wood framing, log columns, and timber truss pattern – provided historical continuity to the park’s past; while maximized natural daylight, energy efficient heating and ventilation systems, and power from renewable energy sources contributed to cost-effective on-going operation.  Interactive displays and exhibits were built into the lobby, with the art gallery and bookstore providing additional information resources.  Locally produced and recycled materials were used throughout this sustainable, LEED Certified Platinum 8,100 SF facility.  Care was taken to ensure the facility’s unseen structural elements could withstand the onslaught of Alaska’s extreme environment.  The facility used a steel-framed roof, wood frame floor, and concrete and masonry foundation system.  The back wall, which also functioned as a retaining wall, employed steel H-shaped soldier piles and precast concrete planks.  Positioned in the Denali wilderness with views dominated by the mountain, this facility is a “must-see” for every visitor.