The new addition to the Anchorage Museum is situated on the west side of the existing building, allowing Chipperfield's addition to be the closest façade to downtown Anchorage. This allowed the museum to develop a new institutional identity and create a new public entry, situated in a landscaped public park designed and constructed at the same time as the museum addition on the site.
Several public areas are placed along the glazed perimeter walls, including this reading room that provides a place for scholars and the general public alike to examine documents including maps and photographs from the museum's library and archive. Metal ceiling panels and light fixtures create a linearity that runs perpendicular to the patterning on the glazing.
Inside the museum, the architects mix white-box galleries with public spaces differentiated by color and material. The ticketing lobby inside the new entry, for example, is dominated by bright yellow walls, serving as a contrast to the cool mirror-fritted exterior glazing.
The linear motif of the building is carried through to the staircase, which, placed against the existing building, serves as a new central core for the building complex. But instead of featuring visually cool materials of glass or metal, this space is characterized by warm wood wall panels.
Though many of the galleries are windowless, to meet conservation requirements, more still are located up against the glazed exterior walls of the new addition. This allows visitors to consider both the art displayed inside as well as unobstructed views out to the nearby Cugach Mountains.