Scott Visitor Center

Lake Flato with BNIM Architects

Scott Visitor Center

Architect: Lake Flato with BNIM

Size: 20,000 sf

Status: Completed in 2014

MSD Key Staff: David Mar as principal-in-charge at Tipping Mar

The Scott Visitor Center was designed for the Boy Scouts of America and serves as the entry point to the Summit Bechtel Scout Reserve in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. The center houses locker space, guest services and indoor restrooms and educational exhibits as well as a gathering space for programmed events.


One key feature of the building is the irregularly shaped, grand porch that provides important outdoor gathering areas. The deep and undulating overhang of the grand porch is supported by sloped columns along the perimeter. The columns are composed of peeled logs of various sizes. We met with a forester in West Virginia to pick the timber for the peeled logs, then we developed a connection system that worked with this irregular, natural material without appearing bulky. The extreme variation in geometry required that the connections look good at various angles and positions. Moreover, this connection language had to work for both the raw, peeled logs and the engineered glulams above. The result is both a kerf and bearing connection. The columns are attached using a round steel plate at the top and bottom surface with the kerf inside.  The resulting exposed structure of the undulating porch overhang looks skillful and balanced – like it belongs. The adaptable expressed language in the family of visible steel connections is highly refined and responds well to the many different facets and angles.

Project executed as Tipping Mar

Photography: Chris Cooper

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