Redwood National and State Parks welcome over 130,000 visitors per year at their existing Kuchel Visitor Center. Save the Redwoods League has undertaken a project in collaboration with its park partners as well as the Yurok Tribe to design a new, expanded visitor center on a site two miles inland from the existing facility. The new visitor center will serve as the gateway to the Parks, a place to learn about the redwoods, the watershed, the wildlife, active restoration efforts, and the cultural heritage of the area. The design has been closely coordinated with a major ecological restoration effort on site and a trail network expansion.
The proposed visitor center is designed to form a literal gateway to the park’s many trails leading to the redwoods. Two gabled wings joined by a covered breezeway mark the start of the primary pathway into the forest. The eastern gable, housing most of the visitor center functions, slopes up to capture soaring views of old-growth redwoods while the smaller western gable, housing the screened picnic area, will capture panoramic views of the restored Prairie Creek watershed.
The building is designed to be all-electric and to achieve net-zero energy. The design optimizes orientation, building envelope and shading to minimize external loads. Natural ventilation is employed at the exhibit hall with the rising ridge, ceiling fans and operable vents near the peak. A photovoltaic system will produce enough on-site energy to achieve net-zero.