Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 4:39 PM on Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pratt releases latest design concept

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer


Illustration provided

This illustration by architects with Livingston Slone shows the entrance to the new Pratt Museum building.

In a forum last Thursday at Kachemak Bay Campus, the Pratt Museum and architects from the Anchorage firm Livingston Slone released the latest concept of the museum's proposed new 11,500-square-foot building to replace the current structure.

Architects are close to finishing the schematic design, or that phase of the design that includes a general floor plan, exterior perspectives and a site plan. The latest vision includes these features:

• Siting of the building east of the old building and near the location of a workshop in the back of the parking lot;

• A main exhibit space that will include a marine gallery, a contemporary art gallery, phase one and phase two of the People & Place exhibit;

• An education and community meeting space accessible through an entry hall and that connects to an outside, south-facing deck;

• Office and work space;

• Collections areas;

• A simple gable-roof design, and

• Room to expand to the north of the building.

The west-facing entrance features a string of trusses holding up an atrium that architect Joe Abegg said was inspired by the rigging on commercial fishing boats.

"The front needs to have some kind of iconic form," said architect Tom Livingstone.

The Pratt Museum Board of Directors earlier had made the decision to build a new building rather than renovate and expand the old building, citing the expense of bringing the building up to museum and Americans with Disability Act standards.

The new building will be one level, while the current building has three levels. Keeping the old building while constructing the new one also avoids closing the building and moving collections to a safe place, museum director Diane Converse said at the forum last week.

"The Pratt now isn't designed to grow," Abegg said. "This is going to accommodate that."

The old, 10,500-square-foot building will be torn down, with attempts to salvage materials. A gravel parking lot will go in around the foundation of the old building and the botanical garden, which will remain.

The foundation of the old building could be used for a future boat pavilion. The site plan shows a drive connecting to Bartlett Street, with a circular drop off-pick up area in front of the new building site and another drive connecting to Soundview Avenue on the north.

The museum plans to eventually expose Woodard Creek, now running under the current parking lot.

Converse said as part of the Pratt's capital projects, a new trail system will be built this summer. The schematic design will be finished in June, with the final design to come in 2013. Construction is planned for 2014. The Pratt has asked for a $650,000 state grant from the Alaska Legislature to complete the design work. The new building is anticipated to cost $8.5 million.

Illustrations of the latest concept will go up soon at the Pratt Museum and on its website at www.prattmuseum.org. Converse encouraged people with comments on the building and site to send comments to capitalproject@prattmuseum.org.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.