Multilectual Daily Online Magazine focusing on World Architecture, Travel, Photography, Interior Design, Vintage and Contemporary Fiction, Political cartoons, Craft Beer, All things Espresso, International coffee/ cafe's, occasional centrist politics and San Diego's Historic North Park by award-winning journalist Tom Shess
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
RETRO FILES / ARCHITECT MARY JANE COLTER’S GOLDEN AGE
The Lookout Studio at Grand Canyon National Park by Mary Colter. Photo Credit: NPS photo by Michael Quinn
SCHOOL OF PARKITECTURE--By Despina Stratigakos, Ph.D., a Beverly
Willis Achitecture Foundation Trustee--Mary Jane Colter, raised in St.
Paul, Minnesota, brought a great sensitivity for history and landscape to the
lodges and hotels she designed in the American Southwest for the Santa Fe
Railway and the Fred Harvey Company.
From 1905 to the mid-1930s, Colter
designed a series of buildings at the Grand Canyon whose bold designs,
archaeological references, and use of local materials fired tourists’
imaginations and remain immensely popular sites. She is credited with inspiring
the style known as National Park Service Rustic, nicknamed Parkitecture,
developed by the National Park Service in an effort to blend visitor facilities
with their natural and historic surroundings.
Others claim Colter’s fusion of
cultural influences set the standard for Southwestern design. In Winslow,
Arizona she designed La Posada in 1929.Harbinger to La Posada in Gallup, New Mexico was Colter’s 1923 railway
hotel, El Navajo, daringly combined modernist, Spanish, and Native American
architectural elements and featured Navajo sand paintings in the lobby. The
hotel was demolished in 1957, shortly before the architect’s death, to widen