Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 6:12 PM on Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pratt picks architects

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer

An architect with roots on the lower Kenai Peninsula is part of the team selected to design the new Pratt Museum building. Tom Livingston, of Livingston Slone of Anchorage, grew up in Anchor Point and frequently visits Homer.

"The Pratt Museum is the jewel of Homer and a source of great pride to Alaskans," Livingston said of his firm's selection. "Livingston Slone is honored to assist this National Merit Award-winning museum in designing their new facility."

Also working on the project is Joe Abegg, who designed the 1980s Pratt expansion. Abegg will be the project architect and Livingston will provide design team leadership, project and contract management, and quality control.

"They're very qualified and also a very good fit," said Museum Director Diane Converse of Livingston and Abbeg.

From 5:30-6:30 p.m. Aug. 1, the Pratt invites the community to meet the architects in a project launch reception. Information on fall architect meetings also will be provided.

Converse said through the fall the museum holds community meetings with the architects to work on concepts for the new building.

"We're definitely looking at community input in the design," she said.

The Pratt also has been mapping its wetlands in preparation for final site selection. The preferred site option is next to the existing shop in the center of the museum's property. The museum wanted to select an architect before final site selection was made and involve them in the process, Converse said.

The Pratt Board had offered the community the opportunity to develop proposals for repurposing the current building, but has not made a final decision on the fate of that building.

With selection of architects, the Pratt moves into the design phase of its capital campaign to raise money for the new building.

"That's what our fall work is about — coming up with a concept for the building. That will help us in our fund raising," Converse said. "It's an important step."

Livingston has experience in designing community and cultural facilities, including 18 museum projects. Converse said he is known for his knowledge of technical and aesthetic challenges of museum buildings in all regions of Alaska. His portfolio contains over 300 projects.

Abegg has helped design numerous museums and community centers, and won awards for his attention to arctic issues and sustainable design. A leadership in energy and environmental design, or LEED, accredited architect, Abegg worked on the YKHC Community Health Services Building in Bethel, the Alaska SeaLife Center, the North Slope Borough Cultural Center, Museum of the Aleutians, the Yupik Cultural Center and Campbell Creek Science Center.

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