Demarcating the northern entrance to Jackson, Wyoming’s historic downtown, the Home Ranch Welcome Center serves as a community hub for both residents and visitors. The program includes visitor orientation space, a transportation hub and a public restroom facility that replaced a well-used bathroom building. The Welcome Center exhibits inform visitors about the opportunities and amenities in the Town of Jackson and surrounding National Parks.
The building is situated on a prominent corner on the main route in and out of Jackson and serves as a gateway to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks and adjacent public lands. Since the site includes an existing parking lot that serves as the primary public parking area for the Town, the design had to accommodate the new program and address the public corner without removing any parking spots and preserving the existing 60-foot spruce trees. Access to public transportation was also considered throughout the siting and design of the building so that bus stops are visible and accessible on this busy street corner.
The architect envisioned the building as a new public “porch” for the Town. The porch is a familiar, regional building element that communicates, “welcome,” signifies entry, provides shelter, and acts as a portal. The building program components are expressed individually, the restroom facilities are housed in an opaque concrete enclosure, while the visitor orientation program occupies a transparent, light-filled gallery on the public corner. Both convene beneath the expansive, sheltering porch roof.
The architect collaborated with a local artist to create Jackson’s first publicly funded art project called “Strands.” The glass bricks, representing bison and bear DNA, are integrated into the building’s solar shade screens.