Siegel & Strain Architects is leading an effort to design a new Visitor Center in the Cottonwood District of Joshua Tree National Park. Cottonwood is the primary visitor intercept station for visitors entering the park from points south and has experienced significant visitation increases and growing numbers of visiting school and tour groups. The site is characterized by views of nearby Mastodon Peak, a series of dry washes, and low vegetation, and is near the Lost Palms Oasis.
The existing visitor center is housed in a temporary structure that does not meet the Park’s functional, aesthetic or interpretive requirements. Their goal is to provide a facility that improves the visitor experience and provide staff with improved resources for delivering information and interpretive programs. The new building will replace the existing temporary structure and will include indoor and outdoor exhibit areas, information desk, sales area, fee collection, and administrative offices for interpretive staff, as well as restrooms and a meeting room. The building will capture the site’s unique views and the design will respond to climate and site context.
Site improvements will include a shade structure for outdoor classroom, additional parking, and new septic system. The facility will be off-the-grid and designed to be efficient in this extreme climate.