Cushing Terrell joins partners to celebrate ground blessing for the expanding Montana Heritage Center

Cushing Terrell joins partners to celebrate ground blessing for the expanding Montana Heritage Center

HELENA, Mont: Cushing Terrell is pleased to join Governor Steve Bullock, the Montana Department of Administration, the Montana Historical Society and its Board of Trustees, along with partners Main Street Design and Sletten Construction in celebrating the ground blessing for the Montana Heritage Center.

More than 10 years in the making, the $52.7 million expansion and renovation project will be a state-of-the-art repository for the state’s historic collections and resources, serving as a place for learning and discovery. When complete, the project will nearly double the size of the existing building and include 66,000 square feet of new space, plus exterior and interior renovations to 66,995 square feet of the existing 1952 Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building. The Cushing Terrell design melds new with historic, using the space between the two structures to create a dramatic entry that will seamlessly connect the two facilities.

“The vision for who we can be in the future really has also been built into this process, bringing together diverse voices from across our state from east and west, north and south, our tribal nations, men and women, young and old — it will be reflected right here,” said Governor Steve Bullock at the ground blessing ceremony. “Those voices will shape its architecture and landscaping the way that our mountains and our plains and those winding rivers have shaped each and every one of us. This building design also looks to the future by incorporating sustainable features that will showcase the ingenuity and the values that make Montana such a special place.”

Taking inspiration from the state’s geology, the new building will appear to emerge from the earth, symbolically referencing the Lewis Overthrust, the geophysical collision of tectonic plates that drove one plate over another and helped to define Montana’s landscape. The landscape design will continue the sense of exploration with features and plantings that mimic (on a micro scale) the journey from the plains and grasslands to the foothills and forests and finally to mountain landscapes. Linking it all together is a river-like trail that will flow from one ecosystem to the next.

“We hope the exterior environment provides visitors an opportunity to feel an intimate connection to the spectacular Montana landscape and the people who have lived here over the generations,” notes Wes Baumgartner, landscape architect, Cushing Terrell.

The design concept for the Montana Heritage Center is meant to convey the feeling that nature is a driving force behind why people live in the state. The building’s exterior represents the diverse and ever-changing Montana landscape, the backdrop for the lives of its residents. From the inside, the building is a vessel that preserves and highlights the remarkable stories of Montana’s people. With a commitment to sustainability and creating healthy spaces, the project is pursuing both USGBC LEED and IWBI WELL certifications and is anticipated to be complete in 2024.

Project Team

Cushing Terrell: Architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, fire protection, land surveying, stakeholder engagement, public outreach
Main Street Design: Interpretive exhibit consultant
Big Sky Acoustics: Acoustical consultant
Sletten Construction: Construction contractor
Client: State of Montana, Department of Administration / Montana Historical Society

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