University of Alaska Museum of the North Expansion

Fairbanks, Alaska
University of Alaska

This project expanded the University’s existing museum building to twice its original size, bringing the total square footage to approximately 77,000 sf: 29,000 sf for the public gallery display and auditorium and 48,000 sf for laboratory, research, collection, and office space.

Due to the building’s prominent position on the West Ridge hillside, the University wanted a distinctive structure to serve as a “signature building” for the campus and the community. The design chosen derives its unique appearance from three unusual architectural elements:

• the Main Gallery, an irregular segment bisecting a portion of the building
• the Museum Store, a separate structure to the south, with both sloping and curved walls
• the curved roof, which forms a two-story lobby space connecting the Museum Store to the Main Gallery

This unusual geometry presented a unique challenge to the structural design team, both in terms of calculating loads and of designing the structural elements to bear them.

Site work included redesign of the pedestrian and vehicle circulation and additional employee and visitor parking. The project provided new access roads, parking areas for employees and visitors, and parking for buses and recreational vehicles. Entry plazas, sidewalks and accessible ramps enhance pedestrian access. PDC survey crews performed the initial design surveys and several quality control and quantity surveys throughout the project.