California Trail Interpretive Center
An immersive indoor/outdoor educational experience that connects visitors with the story of 300,000 pioneers.
2001 Honor Award for Planning and Urban Design, Colorado/ASLA
Bureau of Land Management
The California Trail Interpretive Center provides educational and cultural enrichment to the public. The Center’s design and programming responds to its unique location and environment in the steppe climate of Elko, Nevada. Surrounded by accessible hiking trails that navigate vast grasslands and rolling hills, visitors experience an immersive indoor/outdoor educational experience that presents the story of 300,000 pioneers who traveled the longest trek in United States history.
The building is integral to the landscape while the figural roofscape serves as a recognizable landmark. An east west curved wall, adopting the colors and texture of the hillside, forms the backdrop for a series of volumes housing specific interpretive exhibits. Articulated in light-colored metal panels and glazing systems, these volumes form a counterpoint to the more textured, sandstone-clad wall animated by the movement of the sun. Vaulted roofs over these areas offer volume while animating the building elevation, paying homage to the wagon covers critical during the pioneer travels along the trail.
The building design intentionally avoids overt mimicking of Trail history. While the contents of the building speak primarily to the stories of yester years, the building adopts a contemporary posture on the site and strives to acknowledge our presence in the 21st century.
While the contents of the building speak primarily to the stories of yester years, the building adopts a contemporary posture on the site and strives to acknowledge our presence in the 21st century.