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Swift Company | Grand Teton National Park

Swift Out in Front 2012 8.5 by 11

Title: Keep It Wild

Project: Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center, Grand Teton National Park

Firm: Swift Company

Summary: The Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center is a primal experience of the wild and iconic Grand Teton National Park. Poised between two dramatic and powerful forces, the Snake River and Teton Mountains, the site’s ecological context and dramatic landscape form the basis for design.

Strategic siting of parking, paths, courtyard, and building formalizes the ritual of arrival, taking the visitor away from the mountain-view for a visceral immersion in the landscape. The wild dominates with selected surgical interventions. The sustainable design enhances the inherent character of the place, uses all site resources, and improves ecological function. All landscape improvements – duff, topsoil, mulch and plants – are salvaged and reused to maintain the genetic purity and complexity of this remarkable place. Conservation and stewardship are achieved, and the design will survive and flourish in the harsh landscape. The project is a powerful model of landscape regeneration, ecological immersion, and careful human use.