“The public architecture of the forest can be of

a scale appropriate to the powerful scale of the

trees and the masses of the mountains, of a

construction durable enough to survive years of

intense use, and yet possessing a finish and

subtlety of design that stimulate the human

eye and imagination.”

—Leland M. Roth, architectural historian



• Place structures at the edge of existing

clearings. This preserves views and habitat,

avoids the need to clear vegetation, and

creates opportunities for sun and shade

as needed seasonally.

• Make work complexes into building

compounds connected by covered walkways.

• Site to catch the breezes necessary to

mitigate the bug problem in Alaska.

• Shield structures with plantings on the

north and west sides in areas with

intense wind.

• Manage vegetation near structures; plantings

can become overgrown and block views.


Figure of facilities and improvements subordinate to landscape features.  Priority is given to preserving views by placing buildings away from views.


Figure of buildings concentrated away from riparian and wildlife migration zones.


Figure of a building carefully placed within the edges of a clearing.

Figure of a building sited in an existing clearing and open to receive solar rays from the south.


Figure of the building zone separated from the riparian zone with a landscape buffer.


Figure of a building compound with covered walkways between buildings.



• Diminish apparent mass of larger buildings by

creating wings or compounds of connected


• Use building materials in scale (for example,

oversized stone and timbers) in massive forests.


Figure of an inappropriate single building suggests a building’s mass should be a collection of smaller elements.


Figure of a stone building in a rugged terrain and building elements that have the appropriate mass.


Figure of buildings that complement the scale of their surroundings.

Figure suggests that a massive scale landscape allows for larger and more massive buildings.

Figure suggests that a lesser-scale landscape allows for smaller scale and massing.



• Complement the province’s dramatic landscape

while reducing wear and tear on buildings by

using a strong stone base. The base should

appear anchored to the ground and comprise

a major portion of the wall.

• Use battered stone rock when possible

(although good-quality building stone may not

be available in Alaska).

• “Float” buildings and pathways over landscape

on pilings or piers in tidal zones and other

wet areas.

• Use a concrete base if it is skillfully textured

and colored.


Figure of a sign on a strong wood beam rather than a less sturdy pole.


Figure of a building base used to protect wall from snow.


Figure of a strong, battered stone base at an overlook.



• Design walls that appear to be growing from

the ground.

• Use both vertical and horizontal wall textures;

however, do not mix within one wall.


Figure of a building with wall areas smaller than its base and roof.



• Make windows large to take in views, warmth,

and precious sunlight.

• Protect entrances from driving rain and snow by

including porches and vestibules when possible.

Particularly in Alaska, a vestibule provides a

valuable airlock and a place to remove rain gear,

to stack firewood, or to let dogs sleep. An arctic

variation turns the entry 90 degrees from the

building to keep the indoors warm and dry.

• Avoid extensive horizontal bands of windows.

• Follow historical precedent and scale by using

divided-pane windows.

• Do not place windows in corners.

• Minimize northside entries and maximize

southside entries.

• Keep overhangs shorter on south side of

building to maximize daylighting.

• Use gable-end entries, but leave gables open

to bring light into building.


Figure of a building with windows maximized, especially to the south and southeast and windows to the north minimized.


Figure of airlock vestibule that is especially appropriate in Alaska.


Figures of protected entries:

·       Extruded gable porch

·       Continuous eave porch

·       Added gable porch, and

·       Covered entry porch NORTH



• Design the roof so that it dominates the

architectural composition, except in warm

California climates.

• Design roof pitch to range from 6:12 to 12:12;

use lower pitches in warm California climates.

• Keep roof shapes simple. Complex shapes

create “valleys” that trap snow, creating

maintenance problems.

• Use gable and shed roof types if desired.

• Use hip roofs for coastal areas or as shelters.

• Avoid use of flat roofs and gambrel roofs.

• Use gutters in rainy maritime climate but not

in heavy snow areas.

• Use a steeper pitch with shorter overhangs in

areas with heavy snows.

• Avoid multiple roof forms that may shed snow onto other roofs.


Figures of suggested roofs include a simple hipped roof and roofs that dominate the building.


Figures of roof structures suggest avoiding:

·       Eave soffits

·       Multiple roofs and

·       Unprotected rafter tails. It is best to cover rafter tails.

Other suggestions for roofs:

• Keep gables open to bring in sunlight.

• Use shed or gable type dormers.

• Use eaves that have heavy bargeboards.

• Expose rafters, but protect rafter tails

from the elements by not extending them

beyond the roofing.

• Avoid skylights when possible, or place

them near the ridgeline.


Figures with suggestions for various climatic regions:

In the Eastern areas concern is for the sun: Use overhangs on south and west for shading.


In the Mountain areas concern is for the snow:

Use steep pitch, less overhangs, and no gutters.


In the Maritime Coastal areas concern is for the rain: Use gutters, less pitch, and broad overhangs.



• Design structure to look solid and substantial.

• Use exposed structure, such as trusses and

post-and-beam, for both interior and exterior.

• Avoid lightweight, flimsy tables and site



Figure of a pavilion that is an exposed substantial structure. 



• Celebrate the use of wood as a symbol and

the most significant resource of the province.

• Match the texture of materials to the scale

of the setting. For example, in beachfront

settings, use narrow siding to match the

texture of grass and sand; do not use

boulders or massive timbers.


Roof Materials:

• Use cedar shakes; however, they may be

difficult to obtain and maintain.

• Use standing-seam metal and “oxidizing” steel

roofs in dark tones.

• Use patterned asphalt shingles.

• Avoid intrinsically bright, shiny, light-colored

roof material.

• Avoid slate or Spanish-tile roofs.


Figures demonstrating the use of materials:

Members clustered together to increase massive expression

Steps and site wall are assembled with natural, not overly refined materials.

Feature existing natural materials such as rocks and trees.



• Emphasize muted earth tones such as beige,

brown, tan, and ochre.

• Keep values in the medium range in response to

gray skies in northern areas.

• Use darker values in southern areas.

• Use turquoise in Alaska as it reflects the color

of water, ice, and snow. Native American accent

colors are aqua, red, and black.

• Use weathered blue and gray colors to match

the fog and gray sky in seaside settings.

• Make urban structures more colorful with

pastels and strong accent colors for trim.

• Avoid dark colors indoors. Make interiors light

and reflective to create a light, airy


• Use dark colors for metal roofs—green, black,

or brown, or dark blue in maritime areas.




Chapter 4.7 Table of Contents

Reader’s Guide