There’s one week left to comment on Glacier National Park’s ideas for rebuilding the Sperry Chalet, which partially burned in the Sprague Fire last summer. MTPR spoke with one of the architects on the redesign team about special considerations that arise when rebuilding a National Historic Landmark.
Liz Hallas is a principal at Anderson Hallas Architects, the Colorado-based design and architecture firm contracted by Glacier National Park to blueprint the Park’s so-called Sperry Chalet, the Next 100 Years project.
"Certainly the building is near and dear to many people's hearts," she says.
The Park recently released four concepts for restoring the Chalet, which range from rebuilding the dormitory as close as possible to what it was, to moving the dormitory to a new footprint, to scrapping a stone-and-timber hotel altogether and replacing it with seasonal tents.
Regardless of the final design, Hallas says her team will try to hold onto the details that made Sperry, Sperry.
"What we've heard from the public so far is that there is a real desire for the interior spaces and the experience that kind of elegant rustic experience as we've heard it described to be retained recreated within the existing structure," she says.
"As part of the Swiss chalet style the rustic stone with the gables and dormers and the poll brackets on the corbel is just all or some of the character defining features that I think are beloved to so many. So between the four concepts there are differing ways that that might be retained some of the concepts try to bring back in and restore the dormitory as it was and then there are some concepts which have it kind of maybe stabilized it's more of a ruin."
Hallas says visitors can likely expect some modernizations, like upgrades to meet federal building codes and potentially sound-proofing the dormitory’s infamously thin walls.
"I know that there are fond memories of both having the acoustics, i.e. being able to hear your neighbors talking in the next room," she says with a laugh. "Some folks liked that and thought that was part of the experience and and others thought that would be great to have better acoustical separation between the rooms. I think that's one that can be studied between the concepts going forward."
She adds that so far, public comments overwhelmingly support restoring the dormitory as it was, but her firm and the Park won’t know if that’s an option until they can access the chalet for further testing later this year.
"We have a masonry expert who's slated to be out with us for our field investigations come this summer so they'll be able to help us with any mitigation on the stone work," Hallas says.
As Hallas and her team refine their blueprints, the Park is accepting scoping comments through next Monday, April 2.
Scoping comments can be posted online at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/sperrychalet2018 or in writing to:
Glacier National Park
Attn: Sperry Chalet
PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936
Scoping comments must be received by April 2, 2018.