While she was designing, The Watchtower tower she had in mind Native American culture, which is obvious in all of her artwork. She worked closely with another artist Hopi descent, Fred Sabotage; he is the one that actually painted all of the images in this building (http://mow. Vermiculite. Com). To design the interior of the tower as well, she want to present Grand Canyon as Native American land were people lived many years before us, She wants to connect this piece tot artwork with nature.
She has a great sense tort history and a big concern for archeology, which is 50 obvious in this architectural design. She wants to tell the story of American Indians, Native American because this is the site were people will be coming for many years to come, and she knew that this way American history will be preserved. She absolutely achieved what she vaunted and will be remembered for many generation to come. Now, let me take a look at her masterpiece The Indian Watchtower Tower.
This beautiful design is located at the eastern end Of the South Rim Grand Canyon National Park, completed in 1932 this designed served as a tourist attraction, museum representing Native American culture and a small shop. From my research, and liking to the people that worked at this museum gathered some interesting information’s, the building itself is 70 foot tall, four Story tower designed in a circular motion originally meant to resemble kava- ceremonial room- many Pueblo groups used this type of rooms for ceremonies.
As we are noticing from many designs at Grand Canyon we can conclude that Native American Culture fascinated this architect because with this design it is so obvious that she is representing a nation. This design blends so well with the natural surroundings from far distance you cannot even distinguish it from the surroundings; the rower gives the impression of coming out from the earth like a planted flower.
We can see, that material used to build this particular structure were traditional, found in this environment which is another interesting point, she wanted to really preserve the surroundings and its beauty, to use what is there to make clear statements for many years to come, This tower is designed in a circular motion, has tree floors, a central well, and magnificent three hundred and sixty degrees panorama view of the park and surrounding area, In order to survive intense exposure and environmental changes Cooler designed cement inundation and a circular steel frame around which stones were placed in a certain order.
Steel frame has a function of a skeleton, the reddish sandstones were picked by hand from the surrounding area the main idea behind this is to preserve nature and design a building that will blend very well with its surroundings. Have to say here job well done and task accomplished. What is so fascinating this hand picked rocks were not worked or cut that why this looks like a part Of the canyon. We are noticing just looking closely at the stones itself that she had amazing attention to details because every stone was laid perfectly, ND every layer blends amazingly well with the canyon walls.
Similar size stones were placed in bands and we are noticing bands of lighter and darker stones so the pattern is not the same, which adds on to the beauty of the design and gives it, modern look as well. On top of the tower, there are a couple of white stones have asked historian about this he stated, ” to break the monotony of the watch over as the eyes go around the structure. ” The stones are in different triangular shape and are placed planed in a decorative pattern.
The large walls of the tower appears to have a smooth finish but then as look up the tower m noticing large stones protruding trot the wall surface, which is so prefect because different use of texture creates a visual depth in the structure. As I was entering this tower for the second time the ground level- main entrance is a large room round observational now small shop selling gifts and Hopi Indian crafts. This reach was originally known as kava room, this room contains some rustic furnishings also large chunks food, and it’s roofed with logs, from the beams there are Native American rags displayed.
We are noticing flagstone floor and stonewalls as well, from this room directly visitor can go out to an outdoor observation deck. There is also a fireplace located in this room, which originally served as rest area for visitors. Fireplace was designed so well so that it does not block the view of the canyon and yet visitors could sit and enjoy the fireplace and amazing canyon view. The small staircase will lead as up to the top of the building.
I would have to say the most impressive part of the building was the tower interior due to its unique design, but also due to impressive painting and artwork of Fred Kabobs- Hopi decent artist that did an amazing job in this architectural masterpiece, you have a feeling you are back in time just seeing amazing images and the surrounding nature, very well connected together. As climbed up the stair the space is open shaft, balconies in a circular motion, small staircase that leads visitors to top levels.
Each floor is decorated differently representing Hopi life mythology and religious ceremony. The first floor there is a Hopi snake altar apparently the painting tells the story of a Hopi man floating in a hollow log down the Colorado River through the canyon (towpath. Vermiculite. Com/Hopi/History). As we are climbing up, there are small several windows on each level they are placed in a random fashion and are tot symmetrical they are of irregular shapes allowing visitors to have a different view of the canyon.
Something interesting that I found out as was looking through the paintings and reaching the top level of the tower one thing to point out, no decorations at all on the last level of the tower again great attention to detail because they want visitors at this point to just enjoy beautiful panoramic view of the park and not to be detract with anything else. Reached the last level once again this observation area has a complete floor area covering circular plan and many large trapezoids plate glass windows to overlook Grand Canyon.
Once again was impressed with this architectural design, I was fascinated with her attention to details and her desire to preserve what’s there and to work with it and not against it, to tell the history, to pass something on for generations that will be coming to this place. Am impressed with her commitment to cultural preservation and her commitment to the American History because this place is just that, one historical landmark that will tell the story for many years ahead of us.
While observing and researching for my project I spoke to a couple of people that worked at the museum, and some people that were selling gifts and rafts at the tower. What also amazed me is that they were all so knowledgeable about Mary Cooler design, even a seller at the gift shop knew so much about her artwork and appreciation at the park, that is something that really I did not expect at all and was impressed by.
They were all proud to he there and tell me more about American History and Native American culture pointing it out that need to return because there are free classes offered at the canyon to educate the visitors about American heritage, think knowing and hearing my accent made it more interesting because these people were proud to be who they are, ND they want to share there cultural background with newcomers, they were proud Americans.
If I was there in their shoes don’t think could have done a better job then what they did. Would have the same goal to pass on that knowledge and to be proud of whom am, and my community because this is site were all over the universe visitors are coming to see this wonder and its nice to share our culture with the rest of the world and to show them that we are proud of our cultural background and history.
I was noticing that especially at the Native American population they share the story not just about the tower ND grand canyon they asked me if ever tried pine nuts, and that can eat as many as want at the canyon, but the only one who are allowed to take it out are Native Americans and no one else which was fascinated by as well, and they were so proud even Of that, asked Why is that and they said because this is our land and needs to stay here.
In general just visiting and traveling the great south land Of America I have to say in a short amount Of time I have learned so much about the historical and native background that I will share that with my culture as well what know before was stuff from movies but now my knowledge ad expanded so much that I am proud of myself for taking an extra step of getting to know and gathering all of the information. In conclusion, I can see and understand why Mary was fascinated with this southern lifestyle and culture, coming to American Southwest for the first time I as well, was impressed and fascinated by the landscape and its history.
In the male dominated profession this architect represents the woman in different ways her Grand Canyon buildings are original and distinctive she sends a massage for young generations; believe in your self, and respect your cultural heritage, and work with the natural rounding not against them, use inspiration from the landscape, and create architectural pieces that will tell the story. Cooler developed her style of design from the Southwest’s cultures inspired by Native American culture she created unique buildings that represent American History and I felt that her architecture deserves attention in art history.