Located near Wrangell, Alaska, the Anan Wildlife Observatory is a unique destination for bear viewing in Southeast Alaska – one of six bear-viewing facilities in the region and the only facility of its kind where brown and black bears can be observed together. The observatory also serves as an essential economic driver for Wrangell but needs design improvements. Knot Studio’s custom framework for client evaluation was based on documented goals and objectives through a classification rubric that evaluated a range of needs—from wildlife safety and visitor experience to site impacts, sustainability, life cycle cost, and administrative efficiency.
Knot Studio proposed a complete reconstruction of upper and lower viewing areas and a 25% enlargement of its footprint. The proposal, however, yielded a significantly reduced site impact due to the consolidation of the observatory footprint. The project represented the importance of weighing the need to improve the visitor experience with the critical considerations of life-cycle costs, site impacts, and sustainability.