Forty-one years ago, a young architect, Charles “CB” Bettisworth, opened an architecture firm in Fairbanks.
Through good Northern design and collaborative client relationships, his mission was to make Alaska’s communities the best places to live.
The Atlantic Cities, a website that explores the most innovative ideas and pressing issues facing today’s global communities, named Bettisworth’s legacy, the Fairbanks International Airport, one of the world’s “9 Beautiful New Airport Terminals” in 2011.
Now one of Alaska’s largest architecture firms, with 38 team members in the Anchorage and Fairbanks offices, Bettisworth North honors that same mission.
Providing the most comprehensive architecture services in the state, Bettisworth North’s interdisciplinary team includes architects, landscape architects, interior designers, code and construction specialists, graphic designers and Alaska’s only architectural energy programs manager. Having these disciplines in-house creates a more thorough, integrated and holistic project from start to finish.
The Bettisworth North landscape architecture team strives to work in unison with the firm’s architects and interior designers to harmonize exterior spaces and the landscape with the building and its interior.
“This integrated approach to design has helped us deliver outstanding projects to our clients and their communities by unifying the relationship between the natural and built environments,” said Mark Kimerer, a principal and senior landscape architect at Bettisworth North.
Bettisworth North’s design solutions celebrate and respond to Alaska’s diverse places and cultures. Color, light, nature and energy define the backbone of its northern-climate designs — from form and site selection to building systems, plantings and interior finish materials.
“As Alaska community builders, Bettisworth North helps clients design community places that improve Alaskans’ lives,” said Roy Rountree, AIA, a lifelong Alaskan and principal at Bettisworth North in Anchorage.
The firm’s projects range from commercial tenant improvements, renovations, test fits and space planning to large office buildings, industrial complexes, military facilities, schools, hospitals and clinics, museums, libraries and public safety facilities in more than 90 Alaska communities. One of the most critical components of Bettisworth North’s success is that it cultivates excellent working relationships by collaborating with Alaska general contractors.
To this end, it has successfully completed nearly 40 design-build and general contractor/construction manager (GC/CM) projects in the past 10 years. Dena’ina Elementary School, George H. Gilson Middle School, Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) – Chief Andrew Isaac Health Center, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) Healthy Communities Building, as well as the most recent Fairbanks Memorial Hospital (FMH) surgery addition and Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. (YKHC) hospital renovation and addition are only a few of the projects showcasing Bettisworth North’s work in Alaska.
Using sustainable design to create energy efficiency
Bettisworth North emphasizes energy efficiency as part of its environmentally and culturally responsive designs.
The firm has successfully designed efficient buildings in Interior Alaska for 140-degree temperature shifts from winter to summer. As a result, recent studies report Fairbanks public buildings to be the most efficient in the state.
“Through high-performance building and site design specific to each community, we help our clients save money and resources on energy, so they can focus on providing the services needed to make Alaska a viable place to live and prosper,” Rountree said.
Bettisworth North designed mul-tiple Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)-certified Alaska buildings, six of which received LEED Gold certification. Tracy Van-airsdale, a lifelong “Fairbanksian” and principal-in-charge/project manager on many of these projects, was one of the first few architects in Alaska to receive the LEED accreditation.
LEED is just one metric used for identifying and monitoring sustainable design and construction. Following Bettisworth North’s philosophy and approach, most of the firm’s projects — Ketchikan Public Library, Ketchikan Fire Station No. 1, University of Alaska Kenai Peninsula College student housing, Raven Landing retirement community, Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center and Fairbanks Airport Terminal, just to name a few — are designed to LEED standards, coupled with an arctic approach for energy efficiency and sustainability through early energy modeling and efficient building technologies.
Renewable energy is also part of the firm’s portfolio.
Bettisworth North designed the Ketchikan library to accommodate a biomass boiler as an efficient, cost-effective, sustainable heat source.
On two rural Alaska projects in Interior and Southwest Alaska, Bettisworth North worked with the communities to design for location-specific renewable energy sources, including sharing fuel sources and using waste heat to power new facilities.
“We particularly appreciated Bettisworth North’s technical com-petence in addressing long-term sustainability issues associated with energy consumption,” said Chris Kowalczewski, pre-development pro-gram director at Foraker Group. “They stay abreast of the current technology and carefully evaluate applications for the Alaska environment before incorporation into a project.”
Using collaborative, integrative design to develop partnerships
Bettisworth North is known for developing close working relationships with its clients and contractors, its responsiveness, flexibility and a record of delivering projects on time and on budget.
“This integrated approach and collaboration with clients, community members and general contractors help us solve all aspects of the building design,” said Vanairsdale, principal in the firm’s Fairbanks office. “Our goal is to listen to our clients and provide them with unique, maintainable solutions, from envelope to space planning, low-maintenance landscaping and low operation budgets that exceed their expectations.”
Bettisworth North works closely with general contractors and collaboratively involves clients in each design to ensure their goals are understood and achieved.
Jim Quick, formerly Dawson Construction’s project manager on Ketchikan Fire Station No. 1, said the strength of the Bettisworth team is its ability to build a team concept and work in collaboration with the owner, design team and builder, with one vision to complete a successful project.
“Bettisworth’s dedication and desire for quality and teamwork make them an outstanding partner,” Quick said.
Bettisworth North is expanding its portfolio by developing public-private partnerships to include projects in Alaska’s urban communities.
The intent is to provide better infrastructure solutions while reducing completion delays, potentially increasing returns on investment and maintaining high-quality standards throughout a project’s life cycle.
“We truly appreciate our close ties with Alaska general contractors and look forward to collaborating on exceptional projects in the future,” Rountree said.