Heritage Vistors Center Competition

Heritage Welcome Center Competition : Park City Kentucky : 2000

HAIGHArchitects international competition entry for a new visitors center to service the Highway 31W Corridor, Mammoth Cave National Park and the associated environs of Park City Kentucky.

As the new cultural hub, the proposed Heritage Welcome Center, is conceived as a participatory and progressive architectural experience. Participatory, in the sense of inviting visitors to understand, learn and investigate the cultural and natural resources of the Highway 31W Corridor, Mammoth Cave National Park and the associated environs. Progressive, in providing an informed and active environment in which to be educated, enthralled and entertained. As the region of the Highway 31W corridor was shaped by the evolution of road, rail and river transportation, a conceptual analogy is made to "...travel and discovery along a route". The question is asked "...can an endemic building form be transformed and transposed into something new that is analogous with this processional notion of movement along a road, railway or river". The early buildings of Kentucky owe much to the simple shed forms, cabins and covered trestle bridges that developed as the pioneers moved westward. The region inherited this legacy of a primarily rural and endemic architecture.

Heritage Vistors Center Plans

Heritage Welcome Center Competition

In the proposed new Heritage Welcome Center building, these architecturally simple forms have been explored both structurally and formally as a reflection of this tradition. The metal shed roof is stretched, split and articulated to echo the natural hilltop topography. Exterior forms and interior volumes offer spatial rewards that present referential analogies to regional iconography e.g. the subterranean theater (Mammoth Caves), the forked museum wing (a railway switch) and the covered bridge walk (L&N Railway bridge at Munfordville). A structural matrix of columns and a massive rough hewn central stone wall anchor the lighter divergent volumes. Wooden truss systems are orthogonally juxtaposed to the rhomboid roof forms. Glazing systems reflect carriage, railway and barge construction detailing. Materials are simple, generic and indigenous. The concepts embodied in the design of the Heritage Welcome Center invite the visitor to arrive, participate, explore and ... remember.

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