The Iditarod National Historic Trail covers over 1600 miles of the mountain ranges, Boreals forests, and frozen rivers that stretch across Alaska. As one of most dangerous and lonely trails in North America, the architectural intervention of a Hostel explores the role of permanent populations in rural Alaska and their relationship with transient hikers. Unlike most trails with established supply towns, the Iditarod relies on a dependence and trust in the scattered homes of Alaskan residents. They provide a unique social and physical connection along the trail, providing a constant location and a familiar space. They act as checkpoints through which transient travelers pass and stop to access supplies and structures otherwise unavailable.
Sited along the Yukon river, the hostel marks a transition of landscape and ecoregions, on an island that while having been historically inhabited by indians and gold rush towns, has since become abandoned; a missing link in the chain of settlements along the trail.
The main buildings sit with their back to a spruce forest edge to protect from prevailing winter winds, with the program arranged based on the user; permanent/transient. The permanent programs are cut and embedded into the ground to anchor crucial moments in the island; the full-time staff residence, the hearth, and the exhibition outlook. These ‘anchors’ lie at either end of a bridge that spans both banks to create a visual marker and a measure of pace for dog-sledders rushing along the frozen river. The transient programs; the cabins, meeting spaces, and bathhouse then branch out from the hearth and distinguished by a fill of ground so they rest above the submerged program. This allows the cabins to be fully separated, tieing to a nomadic idea of security by the ability to see all walls of a dwelling.