Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument (Under Construction)

Location: Patten, ME

Architect: Saunders Architecture

Photographer: Ryan Donovan

Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument (Under Construction), by Wright-Ryan

The Tekαkαpimək Contact Station at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument – Tekαkαpimək translates from the Penobscot language to “as far as one can see” and is pronounced de gah-gah bee mook. Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is located within the present and traditional homeland of the Penobscot Nation. The land and waters hold special significance to the Penobscot Nation and are inextricably linked with Penobscot culture, ceremonies, oral traditions, language, history, and indigenous stewardship which continues the respectful relationship with the land and waterways that has gone back more than 11,000 years. Katahdin is a culturally significant place to the Wabanaki people where connecting watersheds provide important travel routes for Wabanaki people, comprised of Maliseet, Mi’kmaq, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot Nations.

The Tekαkαpimək Contact Station building encompasses 7,896 gross square feet on two levels and is designed for 242 occupants. Exploration of a wide range of wood products on the project, and a willingness to push boundaries, led to maximum innovative use of nominal lumber – helping to accelerate an emerging sustainable bio-economy.

The project minimizes the use of steel and concrete, while maximizing the application of forest products and mass timber, including 165 custom-built structural laminated columns.

The building operates as a thermal battery off the electrical power grid with mainly passive utilities – including a 36.75 kW remote solar array for electrical service and a propane generator for backup. In addition to thoughtful shading and ventilation design details, a thermal mass floor system will provide passive heating in cold weather months in conjunction with a solar trombe wall, optimizing the structure’s operational vitality and resilience.