Client: Pratt Museum, Patrons of the Pratt Society
Location: Homer, AK
Project Date: 2003 + 2008
Project Lead: Chris Beck
The Pratt Museum is an excellent regional museum, dedicated to sharing stories about the cultural and natural history of the Kachemak Bay region. As part of the Foraker Pre-Development Program, the museum worked with architect Steve Fishback, the firm ECI/Hyer, Inc., and Agnew::Beck. A::B was responsible to prepare a site development program and physical plan for the Museum’s 25 acre site. This was an update to a project done by Chris Beck in 2003.
The museum had acquired several parcels surrounding the original museum site, and was planning substantial changes to the museum building. These changes provided the chance for a coordinated approach to building and site design, expanding the scope and quality of the museum experience and increasing community support and visits by travelers.
The consultants conducted a series of workshops with Museum staff and board, members of the support organization Patrons of the Pratt Society and the general public. Following the workshops the team created a site development program and physical plan that emphasized the following:
Site Development Program: Facilities, Exhibits & Activities Elements of the site plan included: Whale skeletons, sculpture, a shop, trails, a cabin, a café and office, a botanical/herb garden, the homesteader experience, natural history interpretation, wooden boats and a place to build them, and trash and service areas. Ultimately, the goal of the site program was to ensure the experience “outside the museum door” is a powerful, integral dimension of what visitors experience inside the facility.
Natural Setting For The Museum: The site plan included strategies to emphasize the natural wooded setting of the museum such as artful clearing of vegetation to open up views, rethinking the “entry experience” and reconfiguring parking.
Creek: The site plan resurrected a creek that is currently buried below the parking lot, to create a more positive feature for the site.
Circulation and Parking: An alternative circulation pattern was recommended, to improve circulation and develop pedestrian links to Homer’s central business district.
Visibility: A central goal of the site plan was to give the museum a stronger presence for people driving or walking.
Outdoor Activity Areas: The plan established a series of flexible outdoor spaces that could be used for strolling social events, display or performing arts.