Anchorage Museum Expansion by
David Chipperfield Architects



An extension to the Anchorage Museum designed by David Chipperfield Architects opens to the public in Anchorage, Alaska, this weekend.


The glass facade of the four-storey building is fritted with mirror in stripes, reflecting the surroundings and affording views into and out of the museum.


The extension will house the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, exhibiting native Alaskan ethnographic artefacts, as well as a new entrance hall, circulation atrium and cafe.


Images copyright David Chipperfield Architects except photograph below by Christian Richters.

Here are some more details from David Chipperfield Architects:


David Chipperfield Architects’ Anchorage Museum Expansion to Open

David Chipperfield Architects’ new 8,000 m2 Anchorage Museum Expansion will open to the public on 30 May 2009.

The organisation of the new building is based on five linear volumes of varying length and height arranged along the western face of the existing building. This arrangement forms a new facade and entrance facing downtown Anchorage. The new building offers windows through which the activity of the museum is observed. The visitor, from within, is re-oriented to the city context and its extraordinary natural setting beyond. The glass facade of the new four-storey building is fritted with a striped mirror pattern, providing views out of and into the museum and reflecting the sky and surrounding mountainous environment.


The interior design concept exposes the concrete structure as part of the character of the internal spaces. Walls are constructed between columns to establish a series of rooms within the new building. The main public spaces – the entrance lobby, circulation atrium, cafe, and exhibition spaces – use different colours and materials to give each its own identity. Windows have been positioned in all non-exhibition spaces and some exhibition spaces.

The Anchorage Museum Expansion will also house the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, exhibiting 600 Alaska Native ethnographic artefacts from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of the American Indian. The new Common created in front of the museum will provide a new public space for downtown Anchorage.

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Posted on Thursday May 28th 2009 at 3:38 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • ste

    look at the last picture make me wish someone invent a glassing method that makes a continous correct reflection… just more precision…

  • I sure would like to know what the INSIDE looks like. As the outside, it’s pretty unremarkable, the sort of building that would fit into any industrial park.

  • nick the greek

    Would be nice to see some pictures of the interior. At the moment it looks a bit too much like it was designed on Sketchup…

  • grb

    I saw a lecture and presentation of his work by Chipperfield. His European buildings were often assemblies of smaller forms grouped like a village. His (then) two American buildings were monolithic blocks with highly detailed curtainwalls. Afterwards, in the q&a, someone pointed to this difference and asked why. He replied the pressure in the United States to maximize program content to minimum building envelope and work with the most extreme c0nstruction efficiency led him to focus exclusively on the building’s skin. This project shows that reasoning still in force, though perhaps he so believes the constraint to be unavoidable he doesn’t even challenge it anymore..

  • 5-Zoo

    Silent and exellent

  • clean!

  • andy

    Expansion on grb comment – maybe chippers should speak to tom mayne he dosen’t seem to have pressure with minimum envelopes.

  • Justin


    I think that Mayne tackles the problem by incorporating much of a building’s mechanical systems into the skin. Chip’s systems are all internal, which is why it becomes important to minimize the skin.

  • gab xiao

    B E A U T I F U L


  • Quinn

    …Alaska really got the shaft here…looking at this I feel as if I am driving past a car rental place HQ…in Jersey…in 1986

  • kidnPlay

    looks like chipperfield is the new cesar pelli….

  • Joncal

    I was inside the building before and after grand opening and enjoyed it very much. These photos don’t begin to capture the impact on the outside, and not showing photos of the inside is unfair to the design. It is a public space, not merely an urban object. Anchorage will be well served by this handsome new place for many years. When the other phases are completed it will be a wonderful destination time and again. Bravo.

  • arjun

    what on earth would prompt him to design a building like this? i guess some interior shots may have shed some light. the minimum building envelope argument is a little lame, would have expected him to challenge this. very disappointed