Revitalization of El Portal Visitors Center

Revitalization of El Portal Visitors Center

Revitalization of El Portal Visitors Center

El Portal Visitors’ Center is nestled within El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rainforest in the US Forest System. Originally designed by the Puerto Rican architecture firm Sierra Cardona Ferrer, the project had undergone no significant changes since its opening in 1996. After the extensive hurricane damage, the US Forest Service decided to overhaul El Portal and update its offerings. A competition for the design-build contract was opened and Marvel, along with Interlink Construction, were awarded the project. Marvel’s intervention, in partnership with Interlink, consists of the re-design and complete renovation of the buildings and site.


MARVEL_R6A3803
To contend with the growing effects of climate change, rainwater harvesting and stormwater improvements were made, enabling greater resilience and sustainability.
MARVEL_R6A4113
Elements of the original design, including the main hall, the upper courtyard, and the water feature were modified to give way to a newer design vision, accommodate current needs, and comply with current codes and sustainability standards.
MARVEL_R6A4091.
Key to Marvel's improvements was implementation of the first and only accessible trail in the entire National Forest.
MARVEL_R6A4141
The bright entryway includes a visitor's desk made from wood reclaimed from the wreckage of Hurricane Maria.
MARVEL_R6A4134
Marvel and Interlink, a Puerto Rico-based construction company, worked closely with the US Forest Service and other stakeholders to develop a project that responded to all the requirements for this special and unique facility. Our team also helped develop a vision for what sustainable federal projects can accomplish in the Caribbean.
MARVEL_R6A3694
The roof of the main gallery was renovated and modified to introduce natural light.
1920_PortalDelYunque_Longitudinal Section
Lower level includes partner and operational spaces; mid-level holds the main gallery, gift shop, and theater; and the upper level includes is exhibitions halls, event space and café.
MARVEL_R6A3887
Local artists were brought in for site-specific works.
MARVEL_R6A3899
One of the upper level pavilions was converted into a new café with a fully-equipped commercial kitchen.
MARVEL_R6A3934
New exhibits, designed by Split Rock Studios, are housed in one of the upper level pavilions.
MARVEL_R6A4149
Marvel completely re-designed the theater, located under the upper level plaza and across a "bridge" over the newly designed water feature.
Binder1_Page_6
Concept sketch.
Sketch8
Early concept collage.
Location
Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
Client
Interlink
Typology
Cultural, Public
Size
36,181 SF
Design Team
José R. Marchand, Edna Echandi, Sadie Winslow, Sabdiel Diaz, Rafa Ferrer, Hansel Pellot, Yanick Lay, Jose Juan Terrasa, Adriana Guardiola
Consultants
Civil - DG3a Design Group (Rafael Fernandez); Structural - Joaquin de Mari Monserrate; Electrical - Juan R Requena & Associates (Arnaldo Calzada); HVAC - Jorge Ledon Webster; Plumbing/PR - Jorge Torres Scandali; Exhibits - Split Rock Studios
We use our own and third party cookies to improve your browsing. If you continue browsing we consider that you accept the use of cookies. More info. Ok