Fireside Lecture on Alaska State Capitol Jan. 22

The history and contemporary renovation of Alaska’s State Capitol is the subject of the Friday, Jan. 22 free Fireside Lecture at Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.

Wayne Jensen, Principal Architect at Juneau’s Jensen Yorba Lott architectural firm, will share the building’s history from groundbreaking and the setting of the cornerstone in 1929 through the current upgrading of the historic structure.

“Historical photos tell the story of siting the building on the block between Fourth and Fifth Streets and Main and Seward,” Jensen noted. “This 80-year-old building is resilient and sturdy.”

To adapt the capitol to present day requirements, architects, engineers, construction workers, electricians, plumbers, heating and building envelope experts and others are working inside the walls, under the floors, through the exterior to preserve and enhance the offices of legislators, the governor and lieutenant governor. Earthquake resistance, energy efficiency and restoration are the goals.

“We are pleased that the project is on time and on budget,” Jensen added. He noted that additional office space has been created by infilling otherwise vacant areas in the back of the building.

“The original designers were innovative to adapt this structure to the hillside,” Jensen said. The building lot is not square, yet it gives the appearance of a uniform, classic 1930s art deco style building.

Jensen’s free lecture is the third in the 2016 Fireside Lecture series hosted at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center on Friday nights during January, February and March. The US Forest Service has hosted the lecture series since the visitor center opened in 1962.

Due to popularity, there are two repeat lectures each evening at 6:30 pm and at 8 pm. Doors open at 6 pm.

For more information call Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center at 789-0097 or visit

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