Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Visitor Center wins architecture award

Design to be featured in international exhibition

Express Staff Writer

The Sun Valley Visitor Center in downtown Ketchum was designed by Susan Desko. Courtesy photo from Sun Valley Marketing Alliance

The Sun Valley Marketing Alliance announced Friday that its recently redesigned Visitor Center in Ketchum is a recipient of one of this year’s American Architecture Awards.

The awards are international in scope and honor new and cutting-edge designs, a Marketing Alliance news release states. They are organized by the Chicago Athanaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.

The Visitor Center building, located at 491 Sun Valley Road, is owned by the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency, which leases the space to the Marketing Alliance and a coffeehouse.

The building’s renovation, initiated by the Marketing Alliance, was designed last fall by Ketchum architect Susan Desko. The entire project took just 10 weeks, Desko said. The new Visitor Center opened its doors on Nov. 11, 2011.

According to the Marketing Alliance news release, Desko worked for the Marketing Alliance on a pro-bono basis and also helped raise funds to complete the project, as the Marketing Alliance’s budget for the remodel was very tight.

“We are obviously thrilled with the news of the award,” Desko said. “It represents a great opportunity to showcase the importance of design and architecture, but also how a community can rally together to ‘raise a barn,’ so to speak, after a dismal few years in the local economy.”

In her design, Desko used reclaimed and “deadfall” logs to “invigorate” the exterior and interior of the building and capture the essence of the local landscape, the Marketing Alliance news release states. Massive wood totems on the outside identify the building from afar.

Desko’s design will be featured in an international traveling exhibition titled “New American Architecture” that opens next month at the Istanbul Biennial in Turkey. The Visitor Center will be in the company of highly regarded designs around the world for skyscrapers, major museums, university buildings and corporate headquarters.

“We never dreamed that with such a small budget, the Visitor Center could become not only an architectural icon in downtown Ketchum, but a building to be featured halfway around the world,” Marketing Alliance President and Chief Marketing Officer Arlene Schieven said. 

Brennan Rego:

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