National Parks of USA and their influence on Architecture


National Parks of U.S.A and their influence on Architecture

Parkitecture is a new concept that arose in the National parks of the United States during the early decades of the twentieth century. Parkitecture is made up of two words - Park and architecture; therefore Parkitecture means artistic creation of the parks. The artists and engineers combine their minds and throw their ideas to create magnificent landscapes. Artistic look is given to the national park’s entrance gateways, park roads and bridges, hotels and lodges etc. The National Parks with Parkitecture are described below.

Denali National Park

  • Contains the highest peak: Denali National Park is situated in Alaska, North America. It contains the highest peak of the U.S.A i.e. Mt. McKinley.
  • Connecting with the park: The Park covers an area of 24,585 km². This park was nominated as international biosphere reserve in 1976. Pearson cabin, cache and dog house was created by Grant Pearson during 1927-28.

Mt. Rainier National Park

  • Knowing about the park: It is the fifth national park in the United States which covers an area of 950 km2 .It is located in Washington.
  • Mt. Rainer’s Parkitecture: Nisqually Entrance Gate was created in 1911. Cedar logs were used in making this. Paradise inn was created in 1917 and Longmire Administration building was established in 1928.

Crater Lake National Park: Merel Sager

  • Visiting the park: It is located in southern Oregon in the United States. Its special feature is the Crater Lake which is the deepest lake in the North America.
  • Architecture of Crater Lake: Superintendent’s Residence was created by the architects and was made with natural colors and the fixtures were made with wrought iron. Native buildings were created by Merel Sager in the Crater Lake national park

Glacier National Park

  •  All about the national park: It is located in the Montana state of United States and covers an area of 4000 km2. It contains 1000 different species of plants, over hundred species of animals and over 130 lakes.
  • Architecture: The architects created the Going-to-the-Sun Road System allow interpark travel between Yellowstone and the Pacific North West. Triple Arches Bridge was also created in 1927. It is a sixty-five foot long bridge which was made up of concrete. They built Baring Creek Bridge in 1931 which is a seventy-two foot long bridge made up of concrete.

Yellowstone National Park: Herbert Maier and Robert Reamer

  • Location: It is the first national park in the world and is located in the Wyoming state of the United States.
  • Museums in Yellowstone park: North east entry station was established in 1935. it is mainly used for collecting fees and counting visitors. Madison Trailside Museum was also created by Herbert Maier in 1929 which is devoted to the history of Yellowstone Park.
  • Inns in Yellowstone National park: Old faithful inn was created by Robert Reamer who was an American architect.

Yosemite National Park: Thomas Chalmers Vint

  • Where is it?: It is situated in Central California, United States which covers an area of 3,080.74 km2.  It is nominated as world heritage site in 1984.
  • Hotels in the park: Ahwahnee Hotel was established in 1925-1927. It is created by huge granites. Gilbert Stanley Underwood gave a plan with three wings, each with three stories.
  • Bridges in the national park: Yosemite Creek Bridge was built by Herbert Maier in 1921 which is regarded as the earliest bridge. Various landscapes were designed by Thomas Chalmers vint who was a landscape architect.

Sequoia National Park

  • Knowing about the park: It is situated in California, United States which covers an area of 1,635 km2. Giant sequoia trees are famous in this park.
  • Entrance sign board: Ash Mountain Entrance Sign was created in 1936. This sign board was made from sequoia wood.
  • Highways: Generals highway was also created which runs along the west side of the park.

Zion National Park

  • Where is it situated?: It is located in the southwestern United States. It covers an area of 590 km2. The best feature of this national park is the Zion Canyon 24 km long.
  • Entrance signs and kiosks: The entrance sign was created by the architects made from irregular sandstones. Information kiosk at the temple of Sinawava was made from old materials.
  • Bridges: Pine Creek Bridge was built in 1929 with different shades of sandstones like tan, brown, red, pink, purple and green.
  • Highways: Mt. Caramel Highway near Checkerboard Mesa was constructed so that people could easily transport to Zion Canyon West Portal of Highway Tunnel to shorten the distance traveled.

Grand Canyon National Park: Gilbert Stanley Underwood and Daniel Hull

  • Location: Grand Canyon National Park is in Arizona and covers an area of 4927 km2.  It became a national park in 1919.
  • Depots and Rests: Architects created Grand Canyon Depot in 1909 which was constructed on log and wood frame structure. Hermit’s rest was created in 1914 by Mary Jane Colter. It is a building which is made of jumbled stones with a chimney coming out of it. This building consists of handcrafted furniture, kitchen tools etc.
  • Houses and rims: Hopi house was made in 1904 which was rectangle in shape with stepped terraces. Indian Watchtower at Desert View was a seventy foot tower designed by Herbert Maier to watch the canyon. West rim overlook was created in 1935.
  • Lodges: The Grand Canyon Lodge Complex was created by Gilbert Stanley Underwood in 1926. He used rustic style for his creations and changed the layout from compact to comfortable. Daniel Hull worked with Gilbert Stanley Underwood in the development of park villages.
  • Buildings and power houses: Operations building and Power House were also created.

Petrified Forest National Park: Mary Jane Colter

  • Location & how to reach?: It is situated in northeastern Arizona, United States, covers an area of 380 km2. 
  • Inns: Painted Desert inn was created in 1924.
  • Houses: The Stone Tree House was created in this. It was decorated with wood work. Architect Mary Jane Colter reviewed this building in 1940’s.
  • History and geology: Redwood is used which recalls us of the era over 3 million years ago.

Parkitecture has added beauty to the national parks of USA. A team of Architects and engineers are behind the work. The main feature of these structures is that intensive hand labor is used to create different structures. Artistic landscapes, entry gates, sign boards, buildings, museums, bridges are built to enhance the beauty of these national parks. The architects combine various wood and stone with rustic styles. Visitors experience an exotic view of these national parks which are naturally created with old materials like sandstones; granites etc. which recalls us of the early pre-historic look. They can experience the marvelous rustic styles used in the creation of structures.