Camp Sarika at Amangiri Provides the Ultimate Glamping Experience

Camp Sarika at Amangiri Provides the Ultimate Glamping Experience

Camp Sarika at Amangiri Provides the Ultimate Glamping Experience


Images courtesy of Camp Sarika at Amangiri

Opened in April 2020, Camp Sarika at Amangiri is the ultimate glamping experience in the heart of the Utah canyon lands. Named after the Sanskrit word for “open space” and “sky”, the camp is set amidst 600 acres of striking desert landscape with stunning canyon rockscape and buttes.  Anchored by the communal amenity building and surrounded by desert wilderness and breathtaking natural beauty, highlights include 10‐tented luxury pavilions.

RIM Architects served as Architect of Record for the amenities building in conjunction with Selldorf Architects taking the lead as the Design Architect. Canyon Equity led the development of the Tent and Commons Site.

The Commons features its own restaurant, one main swimming pool, and a whirlpool‐‐accessible for each tent dweller. Other amenities include two spa suites with therapies inspired by traditional Navajo wellness practices. Guests can choose to escape from technology and modern stress, be physically active, and/or dine on specially prepared delicacies from the camp’s unique restaurant or at the main resort restaurant. Yoga, guided meditation, evening campfires, cultural storytelling, and desert and mountain hiking are among the activities to be offered.

Challenges and Features

Due to its remote location, access to the building site was a significant challenge throughout all phases of the project. The massing of the Commons Building is as formidable as the steep canyon walls it sits beneath. Concrete, colored to emulate the desert palette, is the dominate building material that anchors the entire camp into the secluded location. The adjacent water features and wood accents soften the building mass and intertwine with the Navajo‐themed accents found at the tent structures nearby.

Gear Up for National Parks and the Great American Outdoors Act

Gear Up for National Parks and the Great American Outdoors Act


Gear Up for National Parks and the Great American Outdoors Act

DATE PUBLISHED: Aug 6, 2021 

Eielson National Park Visitor Center, Alaska

During the pandemic year, Americans rediscovered their love of the outdoors—embracing the strong connection between wellbeing and nature. Sites like the Denali National Park and the Eielson Visitor Center anticipate the arrival of more guests than usual as parks more fully open this post-pandemic year.

The candid photo of the bear (above) enjoying the view from the Eielson Visitor Center in Denali, Alaska was a relatively common sight when the RIM crew was working there. Special precautions and regulations are in place to protect the bears and other wildlife, as well as park visitors.

Eielson National Park Visitor Center, Alaska

The landmark Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), enacted in 2020, will provide $9.5 billion over five years to fund national park programs and conservation projects across the county. The bulk of this funding, up to $6.65 billion total, will go to the National Park Services (NPS) as well as other funding sources for the Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS). Today, the NPS manages more than 400 sites, and its backlog of maintenance repairs is estimated at $13 billion. While the GAOA funding will address a significant amount of deferred maintenance, it will not cover the entire backlog of park repairs.

The Associated Press called the GAOA “the most significant conservation legislation enacted in nearly half a century,” The initial funding will pay for more than 30 improvement projects at the nation’s most visited parks—those benefiting the greatest number of visitors. In future years, the funding will spread to smaller parks.

United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) Sacramento Northwestern Region Visitor Center

Since 1998, RIM has completed more than 200 NPS projects as well as other Visitor Centers for the FWS. Project examples vary from well-known sites like Denali National Park Visitor Center to other unique projects for FWS such as the Tule Lake Visitors Center near the border of California and Oregon. With a portfolio that includes more than 50 national parks and national wildlife refuge centers, RIM’s park projects range from remote sites in Katmai, Alaska and Pacific Islands to more accessible locations such as Muir Woods and the Presidio at San Francisco, Mt. Rainier near Seattle, and Crater Lake in southern Oregon.

For each of these projects, RIM focused on incorporating sustainable design features. Sustainable design results in facilities with long-term benefits of resource efficiency, resiliency, and environmental protection, for current and future generations, lessening the impact on natural resources and honoring them.

Documenting an Endangered Sacred Site in Alaska

Documenting an Endangered Sacred Site in Alaska


Documenting an Endangered Sacred Site in Alaska


Photo credit: Tom Pillifant of Tommy’s Dog Cinematography

In 2020-21, RIM assisted with Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) documentation to help protect an endangered historic church on Kodiak Island in Alaska. Constructed in 1888, the Ascension of Our Lord Russian Orthodox Church is the oldest extant Russian Orthodox church in Alaska and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Karluk Church, which is attributed to Charles Smith Hursh, is beautifully designed with a prominent bell tower, pedimented Greek Revival doorway, and octagonal cupola. Originally built by a cannery for its Alaska Native workers, the wood-framed chapel sits on a high bluff, located above the Karluk River overlooking Shelikof Straight, on the west coast of Kodiak Island. The church was placed on the Alaska Association for Historic Preservation’s “Ten Most Endangered Historic Properties” in both 2020 and 2021.

Photo Credit: National Park Service, September 1, 2015

The Devastating 1978 Storm

In 1978, a storm surge altered the course of the Karluk River, forcing the village to move inland about three-quarters of a mile. Since then, the bluff the chapel sits on has severely eroded and is now about 10 feet from the edge. A variety of stakeholders are working to temporarily relocate the building away from the bluff as it continues to erode.


Documenting the Church

In 2019, RIM was contracted by the National Park Service (NPS) to prepare HABS drawings of the church. In September 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, careful arrangements were made through collaborative discussions with the Village of Karluk and the NPS to ensure RIM’s consultant, Chrystal Prism Consulting, could safely conduct a site visit to develop 3D imaging of the interior and exterior of the building, using high definition laser scanning.  Chrystal Prism landed early in the morning, and completed their scanning effort in one day, resulting in minimal exposure to village residents.

The resulting cloud of scan points at a density of 1/8” is a 3-dimensional as-built of the building, which allowed RIM to generate documentation drawings using Revit CAD software. Utilizing RIM’s staff in the Anchorage, Honolulu, and San Francisco offices, the HABS drawings were generated. The HABS program is administered by the NPS, and the final drawings will be deposited in the Library of Congress. The goal is to temporarily relocate the church away from the bluff and use the HABS drawings to further stabilize and restore the church at a site further inland.

For more information on this historic preservation project, contact Bryce Klug: or visit to donate.

Above: Enlargement of HABS drawing by RIM
Exterior scan image: Chrystal Prism Consulting
Livermore Electric Safety Academy Wins Multiple Awards

Livermore Electric Safety Academy Wins Multiple Awards


Livermore Electric Safety Academy Wins Multiple Awards

DATE PUBLISHED: Aug 5, 2021 

Photos by Tyler Chartier

Dubbed the Training Center of the Future, the Livermore Electric Safety Academy is the recipient of a Green Project Award by Engineering News-Record (ENR), recognizing California’s Best Projects. The new training center won ENR’s Best Project of the Year 2020 Award for Northern California as well as the 2021 Richard A. Clarke Environmental Leadership Award Champion. The trifecta was achieved when it was announced the project also received a 2021 Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) Western Pacific Region Award.  

The Livermore Electric Safety Academy’s focus is on Transmission and Distribution safety training. The largest new addition to the academy is the electric substation and training building for operations and maintenance education. This new training site provides a safe environment to train, validate, and assess substation employees in realistic, simulated field conditions, complete with full-size training poles and mini-residential buildings.

The training center is comprised of more than 44 acres dedicated to electrical training and safety. Targeting net-zero, the 12,000- square foot, substation training LEED Gold building contains break-out training rooms and state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment. The 17,000- square foot, Main Building was awarded LEED Silver ID+C. This building project consists of the renovation of an existing building, including a new cafeteria, offices, classrooms, and meeting spaces. Other project components include a new transformer training building, photovoltaic canopies, and drought-resistant native landscaping.


A new seismically-sound glass floor brings maximum daylight into the first-floor café via a second-level glass floor feature. The glass floor minimizes noise levels for the administrative offices located between this feature and the café.


Since hundreds of apprentices were being trained and certified during construction, working around a busy, occupied training facility was especially challenging. Multiple projects occurred throughout the site with strategic phasing to keep onsite activities and circulation active and safe.

4 Myths About Architectural Services

4 Myths About Architectural Services


4 Myths About Architectural Services

By James Dougherty, Managing Principal – Alaska

DATE PUBLISHED: Aug 3, 2021 

When some people think of architects, they think of beautiful public-facing facilities that alter the skyline and aesthetic of cities and universities. Few architects are responsible for these visions that form our society’s collective history. Most architectural firms are busy with smaller, yet important, problem-solving services.

There is a good deal of misinformation, or myths, surrounding what services the architect provides, if not high-profile project design. Our intent is to dispel these myths and help guide potential clients in understanding what services the architect can provide.

Myth #1: Your projects are recognized and award‐winning; you must be very expensive.

University of Alaska, Anchorage, Consortium Library

While it is true that an architect’s advice is not free, what may not be common knowledge is that architect fee structures are very similar throughout the industry. However, while the hourly billing rate may be similar, what a given architect can do in that hour may vary widely.  

Expertise and ability should be the guiding factors in choosing services. An architect who specializes in a certain building type or process will know countless time-saving details, flattening the learning curve and providing greater efficiencies in problem solving. For this reason, high stakes clients like the federal and state government, universities, and larger entities that spend millions annually on buildings, select their architects on qualifications, rather than price, saving you money in the end.  

Myth #2: My project is too small for you to consider.

What problem is too small to be solved effectively? Problem-solving and expert advice don’t “scale” with a problem’s magnitude. The experience gained from exposure to a variety of complex issues is exactly what makes the architect’s experience relevant. Whether the project is large or small, the knowledge gained can be leveraged every day, with everyday challenges. 

Myth #3: I don’t need a professional for my type of problem. I have a friend.

The title “architect” has spread like wildfire throughout the business world. For example, there are “healthcare plan architects”, “software architects”, and even “solution architects”. The title of “architect” is applied to imply a broad understanding of complex systems. 

A real architect has gone through rigorous training, an internship, and passed a nine-part exam. A registered architect knows much more about how to identify, plan, and solve your issues than a client’s “friend”. 

Myth #4: I prefer the simplicity of a “one stop shop” approach to professional services. RIM just provides architectural services. How can I keep track of all the various disciplines necessary?

We hear this a lot. Well-trained architects are experienced in coordinating information from other professionals engaged in a project. What distinguishes RIM’s approach is that we select project team members based on the unique challenges of the project to ensure the work is suited to the client’s needs. We provide a single point of contact for the client—usually the project manager—to help ensure simplicity. 

Sometimes Less is All You Need

Our goal is to become our client’s trusted design partner, building relationships as well as bricks and mortar. While not every client is in the market for a sparkling new building, we want to surprise our clients with other ways we can add value through partnership and collaboration. 

Some lesser-known services that RIM can offer clients include the following:

  • Fixing leaky roofs, windows, and walls
  • Addressing mold issues
  • Roof/wall, or window replacement
  • Re-stacking a business for better efficiency
  • Promotional brochures
  • Branding
  • Energy-efficiency audits
  • Noise, vibration troubleshooting
  • Custom furnishings
  • Building management
  • Corrosion control
  • Feasibility and environmental impact studies and site selection studies
Regions with Highest and Lowest Number of Registered Architects

Regions with Highest and Lowest Number of Registered Architects

Regions with Highest and Lowest Number of Registered Architects


Nikko Wedding Chapel in Guam

Regions with Highest and Lowest Number of Registered U.S. Architects

Through its annual Survey of Architectural Registration Boards in June 2020, NCARB found that California leads the country with the highest number of total architects (both resident and reciprocal licensure-holders) with 21,528 people. While the number of architects continues to grow, the smallest number of architects practicing today is in Guam (99) and the Northern Mariana Islands (39).

RIM Architects is fortunate to have registered architects in each of these regions (California, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands) as well as Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

RIM’s Guam Office Is Very Active

In an article written for the Marianas Business Journal, Maureen Maratita, Journal Staff, wrote: “There are not many businesses that prosper in Guam and are then able to export their skills to elsewhere in the U.S. RIM Architects is one of them, with offices in Guam, Hawaii, Alaska and California. CEO David L. McVeigh, who is based in Anchorage, Alaska, was in Guam from 1988 to 2000, and at the forefront of the group’s development.”

McVeigh commented, “We started the company in 1986 and I was one of the original hires. In Guam — where Brent L. Wiese is the managing principal — all staff have been with RIM for more than a decade. Close to 40% of its total staff have been with RIM for more than a decade. “We’ve been really fortunate to have staff that believe in us, that like our culture, our work environment; they stay with us quite a while—particularly in Guam.”

The Guam office has always had a lot of resort work, he added. “We’ve probably touched most of the hotels on Tumon Bay.” Most recently, RIM was the Guam Partner of Record for the Tsubaki Tower and heavily involved. “We worked with the architect [in Japan] to do all the design drawings and the construction administration, and to get it permitted.” McVeigh said. “It’s a beautiful building and a great first-class addition to Guam’s inventory,” he said.

RIM Architects is the Architect of Record for The Tsubaki Tower. – Photography: Mike Arty

“Top Guam projects include the $44-million design-build MACC task order awarded in early August to the Black Construction Corp.-Tutor Perini joint venture for ordnance facilities at Naval Base Guam; the $180-million Tsubaki Tower in Tumon in Guam, for which RIM was the Architect of Record; and Isa Villas affordable housing on Capitol Hill in Saipan.

Other work in the Mariana Islands includes school retrofits and additions in Saipan and two projects in Guam and one in Saipan for the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints.

Bank Pacific Guam – Photography: Mike Arty

RIM has also acted for off-island companies who are unfamiliar with Guam. “You can’t undervalue the importance of having boots on the ground, particularly in places like Guam where anything from logistics to the design environment itself – when you get companies that are from somewhere else — they don’t always understand that it’s the little things that make a big difference. Some of the difference is cultural, he said. “Some of it is the way the entitlements work and development works. … It’s always wise if they hook up with somebody local.”

Architectural rendering of Soka Gakkai Buddhist Center in Guam, by RIM Architects

McVeigh said he is proud of his time in Guam. “I feel it had a lot to do with where I am today.”

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