Coldfoot, Alaska, is 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle. In the winter, temperatures commonly drop to -40 degrees F. And it’s home to the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center.
A partnership of federal agencies – the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Park Service – turned to Stantec when they wanted a unique facility for visitors to Alaska’s far north. The visitor center is adjacent to the trans-Alaska oil pipeline and just off the Dalton Highway, the gravel road used by long-haul truck drivers delivering equipment and supplies to the Prudhoe Bay oilfields.
The facility’s low-slope roof forms were designed to mirror both the surrounding Brooks Range landforms and the traditional sod roofs common to the early settlement of this rugged region. The site’s remote location required full development of on-site utilities and special design considerations. The visitor center is only open four months a year and is allowed to “go cold” during the winter, requiring the selection of construction materials that will withstand extreme temperatures. Site design includes interpretive trails, exterior interpretive exhibits and parking areas.