Grand Canyon National Park: Lookout Studio - Early Morning 4158
Back along the canyon rim in the vicinity of Bright Angel Lodge, a small native stone structure, originally known as "the Lookout," (1914) is built into the canyon rim and, in a sense, looks as if it grows out of it. NPS Photo by Kristen M. Caldon.
The small structure is generally rectangular in plan and constructed of coursed rubble masonry. The uneven parapet of part of the roof steps up to incorporate the chimney and a small observation room within its lines. The observation room has a small balcony with a jigsawn-patterned railing. Low stone walls lead up to the building, protecting visitors from drop offs into the canyon. Although constructed for viewing the canyon the building now houses a rock and mineral shop.
The interior of the structure is divided into several levels. Structural logwork is exposed on the interior (posts, beams, and ceiling joists) and a small stone fireplace provides the simpler atmosphere Colter achieved here. The floor is scored concrete. Interior walls are exposed stone. Because of all of the viewing windows around the walls of the structure, the interior is considerably lighter than most other Colter buildings. A small stairway with log newel posts and railings leads up into the small enclosed observation tower and down from the building's main level to an exit that opens to an exterior observation area.
The original ceiling treatment, probably latias (saplings), has been covered over although the vigas remain exposed. The ceiling finish is now sheetrock or a similar material. Fluorescent lights, another alteration to the building, provide additional lighting on the interior. The building has undergone little alteration, other than those changes listed above.
(From the National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form)
Hopi House, Hermit's Rest, the Lookout Studio and the Desert View Watchtower are not only the best and least altered, but some of the only remaining examples of the work of master architect and interior designer Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter.
Colter's place in American architecture is important because of the concern for archeology and a sense of history conveyed by her buildings, and the feelings she created in those spaces. More importantly, her creative free-form buildings, Hermit's Rest and Lookout Studio, took direct inspiration from the landscape and served as part of the basis of the developing architectural aesthetic for appropriate development in areas that became national parks.