The Thousand Springs Visitor Center in Hagerman, ID, is a new 3,400 sf building that will serve both the Thousand Springs State Park and the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument. Inspired by the landscape, the design evokes the natural and cultural history of the Snake River Valley region.
Cedar siding will be allowed to weather naturally in the arid climate, connecting the building to the landscape and to the passage of time. Weathered steel canopies and window shrouds protect the windows from direct sunlight without compromising the views from the inside. The project utilizes Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPs) for all exterior walls and the roof. The panels are prefabricated off-site, trucked to the site, and assembled as a kit-of-parts, significantly reducing construction time for the building envelope and labor costs. Additionally, SIPs will provide the building with a superior thermal envelope that will greatly reduce the energy needs. The reduced energy needs, LED lights, heat pumps supply the heating and cooling system, and carefully shaded exterior glazing will help keep operating costs low. The window glazing will have patterns applied to provide a bird-friendly design.
Organized around a central lobby, the Visitor Center features offices to the west side, the interpretive volume to the east side, and the entry and restrooms to the north. Anchored by a ‘rock’ that houses support spaces, the entrance is positioned between the two forms, aiming toward the Hagerman Fossil Beds across the valley. In a unique arrangement, the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation is constructing the new building, and the National Parks Service has agreed to lease space in the Visitor Center for the next 25 years. Construction will be complete in 2021.