27 Jan 2015

Architecture - Begich Towers a Town Living in 1 Building

Begich Towers is a condominium with a difference, the 14-story former Army barracks, houses almost all of the 200 inhabitants of Whittier, Alaska, making it a self-contained structure.  Within its walls, there is everything a town needs to function, accommodation, a B&B, laundry facilities, health clinic, police station and detention area, a church, 2 convenience shops, a hydroponic room to grow vegetables, a recreation area for the kids, that in the winter commute to school trough a tunnel, because of the cold.  The reason for everything being so centralised is the the incredibly harsh winter the town experiences.  More information and a bit of the history of the Building, below.

Dry-Dock and Reindeer Pen:
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Picture above, Dry-docked boats and a reindeer pen sit in front of Begich Towers main entrance.

The Begich Towers was built in 1956 it was originally constructed to house the army and was transferred to the state of Alaska in in 1973, when the town of Whittier was created.  The only way in to the city by land, is the two and a half mile, one way, tunnel constructed by the military, which shuts down at night. More below...

The Port:
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During the summer cruise ships, charter boats, and commercial fishing boats create most of the economy in the city bringing thousands of people. The hustle and bustle of the summer stands in deep contrast with the winters, that are incredibly harsh.  Whittier in the winter, is battered by 60 mile an hour winds and a average 250 inches of snow a year.  Most of the small businesses are boarded up and it becomes important that the inhabitants get along with each other, and help each other through the tough winters, as at that time there is little to no chance of outside help.

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Because the winters are so ferocious, the towns only playground is indoors.

Grocery Store:
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One of two grocery stores.

Hydroponic Vegetable Garden:
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Police donated hydroponic equipment for 10th floor vegetable garden.

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June Miller, runs June's Whittier Condo Suites, a B&B on the Tower's top two floors.

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Pastor Kevin Jones, a Southern Baptist, presided over a mostly Catholic congregation.

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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8/02/2015

    Text says there is only 1 playground, and located inside because harsh winters, but there is another outdoor, next to school. Can easily find it with google earth streetview.


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