Thursday, August 16, 2012

mid-century modern at the grand canyon

After our trek to Las Vegas and appreciation of Vegas art, we headed over to the Grand Canyon. Honestly, it was stunning.

South Rim Grand Canyon
South Rim Grand Canyon

Pictures do not do it justice. But you try.

Colorado River, Grand Canyon South Rim
Glimpse of Colorado River, Grand Canyon South Rim

I became intrigued with the structures along the rim and discovered four of them were designed by a woman architect from 1905-1932, Mary Colter.  She created the buildings to be appropriate to the Southwest and in some cases, borrowed from archaeological information about native American structures. Says Wikipedia about Mary's style, "She worked with Pueblo Revival Style architecture, Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, Mission Revival Style architecture, Streamline Moderne, American Craftsman, and Arts and Crafts Movement styles, often synthesizing several together evocatively."  All four structures at the Grand Canyon are listed on the National Historic Register.

Yavapai Observation Station from Wikipedia
Yavapai Observation Station, Mary Colter, 1932 (Wikipedia)

Hopi House
Hopi House, Mary Colter 1905, Grand Canyon (Wikipedia)

Hermet's Rest
 Mary Colter's Hermet's Rest, 1914, Grand Canyon (Wikipedia)

The Lookout Studio, Mary Colter, 1932 from Wikipedia
The Lookout Studio, Mary Colter, 1932, Grand Canyon (Wikipedia)

We rounded a corner and what did we see sitting proudly on the rim (wait for it), but a mid-century modern. Imagine my delight! 

Mid-Century Modern at the Canyon? Thunderbird Lodge
Mid-Century Modern at the Canyon? Alex is perplexed.

The Thunderbird Lodge was built in 1968, to alleviate crowding at the rim and over use of the facilities. You can read more about the history of Thuderbird and how the park caretakers had to get water from the North Rim to the lodge at the South Rim, on ASU's historical site.

Thunderbird Lodge, South Rim, Grand Canyon
Thunderbird Lodge, South Rim Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon Tourist site reassures, "If it’s amenities you need and history isn't your bag, Thunderbird may be the place for you."  History isn't your bag? How dare you.

Thunderbird Lodge Grand Canyon
Classic mid-sixties mid-century modern brick and concrete dormitory type structure

With its low flat horizontal lines, the feeling of Frank Lloyd Wright gets evoked easily from Thunderbird Lodge.

Frank Lloyd Wright, The Mid-Century Modern Muirhead Farmhouse B&B
Frank Lloyd Wright, The Mid-Century Modern Muirhead Farmhouse B&B
Courtesy of  PrairieMod

Thunderbird Lodge
Thunderbird Lodge for $197 a night. Including "full amenities."

And it is a legitimate mid-century modern. History indeed.

Related posts: Modern and Ancient Art in Vegas, Sedona's Mid-Century Modern: Chapel of the Holy Cross.

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