Valdez Ferry Terminal

Valdez, Alaska

The exposed steel structure celebrates the form of neighboring industrial buildings while embracing outdoor spaces used to operate the terminal, greet visitors and wish goodbye to loved ones. In summer, the metal roof and covered walkway protect passengers waiting for ferries from inclement coastal weather. In winter Valdez has an average yearly snowfall of 24 feet, rendering other buildings and outdoor spaces inhospitable without constant maintenance. Valdez Ferry Terminal's simple roof plane directs snow to a rocky slope where it tumbles into the ocean and dissolves.

The terminal's expansive views are not only beautiful, but necessary for staff to dock vessels. Under the broad canopy, a south facing storefront angles at each joint to create a gentle curve that frames approaching vessels against a backdrop of ocean and mountains. A cantilevered bench on either side of the windows outlines the curve, inviting visitors to linger and enjoy.

* Photos by Ken Graham