RENEW: Fairbanks Cityscapes
Throughout its decades, Fairbanks has experienced dramatic changes in the cityscape. It continues to defy traditional definitions and even the appearance of how a city should look and feel. Historical film reveals how local life developed from the 1930s through the 1970s. The city’s buildings were constructed with each period’s state-of-the-art technology and materials and have transformed the surroundings. Over time buildings have moved, been reused and renamed, or even disappeared altogether.
Objects archived in the Museum’s Archaeology collections illustrate the good life—imported goods were available here even in the early years. Paintings and photography from the Fine Arts collections provide a cultural context, sometimes extending beyond documentation or realism to abstract form, metaphor, and even provocation.
This exhibition brings together the work of artists, architects, planners, and engineers to provide just a glimpse of the complex developments interconnected throughout Fairbanks. What we do not see is the vast number of discussions and human interactions required to make the myriad decisions that result in a plan or construction; and the extreme northern environment that always imposes a measure of restraint. With forward planning this place can still sustain the capacity for diversity, and the built and natural environments can now be valued together.
In Fairbanks, everyone has the opportunity to share and contribute to the work and welfare of our community. This cityscape requires enduring attention of its residents. Beyond appreciating Fairbanks’ creativity, ingenuity and resourcefulness, you are invited to participate in this story of a changing cityscape by contributing comments in the exhibition and by submitting images to the slideshow via the Museum’s website.
Learn more about a design project, a building’s history, or the new technology by visiting the websites of our contributors. It’s an opportunity to build and renew.
Exhibition and Design Director
Bettisworth North shows recent infrastructure projects in concept drawings and architectural photography.
Design Alaska’s projects show some examples of historical building re-use, such as the Big Dipper Ice Arena and 1967 Alaska Centennial Park, now Pioneer Park.
USKH developments range from roadways to buildings.
David Hayden, L64 Design gives a glimpse of new eco-friendly design that contributes to a distinct sense of place. The Cold Climate Housing Research Center shows a retrofit of a historical building in Fairbanks on the resource station.
Fairbanks Downtown Association contributes maps and the Vision Fairbanks Downtown plan.
Artists Tanya Clayton, Scott Hansen, Robert Usibelli and Barry McWayne provide profound works that demonstrate their longtime observation of the changing cityscape. Other works are from Mark Daughhetee, Margo Klass, Sheryl Maree Reily, Jamie Smith and from the Museum’s Fine Arts collection.
The Museum’s Archaeology Collection show objects from the Barnette Street excavation site. These objects show the imported goods that were available more than 100 years ago. Architectural historian Janet Matheson shares a building history timeline and photographer Marvin Falk provides images of the historical, the disappeared, and recent buildings. Both have been studying the city for more than 30 years. Frank Soos and Len Kamerling provide sources of literature and film that have commented about Fairbanks.
The Fairbanks Northstar Borough and the University of Alaska show in aerial photos, maps and drawings the study and planning for Fairbanks’ future land use.