Blackwater Falls Visitors Center
Blackwater, WV · 2005

The Blackwater Canyon National Park Visitor Center is focused on the interpretation of the landscape, allowing the visitor to form a personal connection and give its preservation meaning. A connection may be formed when looking over the canyon rim to the river below or through the understanding of a display on the canyon’s geology or ever through a personal encounter with a species of wildlife. Through a persons own experiences, they are able to understand the larger issue of protecting our nation’s nation’s treasures preserved in National Parks.

Since every park visitor’s personal connection stems from a different experience, the main building spaces are focused on movement through a sequence of views and allow each visitor to have a personalized circulation experience. Entrances extend along all of the building levels, allowing one to enter and exit to the exterior at any point. The building elevation consists of wooden boards with a reveal which allow for continual glimpses of the canyon that bleed into larger specific views. The tower and overlook elements allow for very intimate and dramatic overviews of the canyon while the enclosed building controls views into the landscape.

This project was awarded the Tau Sigma Delta Bronze Medal for the best fifth year project by an outside jury.