Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center
Blue Ridge Parkway Destination Center
Lord Aeck Sargent worked with the National Park Service to develop a new visitor center for the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The 11,500 sf facility includes exhibit space reflecting the heritage and development of the Parkway, as well as space for regional orientation and visitor information. A digital-immersive theatre showing High Definition film of the Parkway is a feature attraction.
The Visitor Center serves the Asheville area, the mountain regions of Western North Carolina and the nearly 11 million visitors who enter the Parkway annually. The park extends from the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. Nestled into a hill, the building evokes a "tree-house" atmosphere that allows visitors to experience the majestic vistas and surrounding woodlands for which the Parkway is known.
The Visitor Center is a showcase for sustainable design, incorporating a green roof, natural ventilation, day-lighting, trombe walls and other passive solar strategies. Computational fluid dynamic (CFD) modeling, daylight modeling and thermal analysis were utilized to optimize the building's performance.