Constructing the Western Landscape: National Park Architecture
Essig, Brian F
Hurtt, Steven W
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This thesis explores how National Park Architecture has helped shape this country's attitude toward the American West, nature, and tourism. In the 19th century, a specific image of the parks was constructed, which implied the ideal interaction between man and nature. Over the years, as this relationship has changed, so has the architecture. Each generation has reinterpreted the idea of what a national park represents and how it fits into American culture. The image of the parks has been carefully controlled in order to serve a particular purpose. This provides the opportunity to design a building that not only functions as a visitor center, but one that stands as a recognizable model for how to build and interact with the natural environment. This thesis addresses the existing site of the Old Faithful visitor center and the larger complex in which it is situated. While the site exists within the "wilderness" of Yellowstone National Park, it accommodates 25,000 daily visitors, and therefore, presents numerous urban challenges.