Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Alaska Architecture

This one has been percolating for a few days and is out of sequence. Not intended to knock anyone, just want to share what I'm seeing.

The further you get from the main roads and the tourist destinations, the more the houses vary.  On occasion, you’ll see a very nice home.

Quite a few are boarded up, perhaps because the owner went “outside” for the winter and hasn’t come back.

Many are very unique, reflecting the creativity of someone, although I doubt it was an architect.

Many of the unique ones were never finished and have obvious flaws that will reduce the life of the structure.

In many cases, plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) has been used for sheeting and not painted, showing years of weathering. I’m not sure if it is a matter of time, cost, or the performance of paint in the cold winters.

In some cases, the dwelling isn’t a house at all. These tents are someone’s current dwelling.

In talking with some locals, they note that it is not unusual to piece together multiple jobs to make ends meet. Good full-time jobs are really rare, especially once you get away from major towns. People depend on hunting and fishing to help put food on the table.

Unique found a place at an RV park as well.  Most of the RV parks look like a gravel lot, sometimes with utilities run to posts around the perimeter. This one got a special on yellow paint.

The churches appear to be well maintained. This is the Russian Orthodox church in Ninilchik.


  1. That's a fascinating perspective on Alaska that I haven't seen anywhere else. I enjoyed it!

    1. In the mid-1970s I read the first three of the Foxfire books. There is a significant population here who are living similarly self-sufficient by choice. Individualism is highly valued and respected, especially outside of the larger communities.