Citation
Between sacred mountains

Material Information

Title:
Between sacred mountains
Creator:
Anella, A. Anthony
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
110 unnumbered leaves : illustrations, charts, maps, color photographs, plans ; 29 cm

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( Master of Architecture)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
College of Architecture and Planning, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Design and Planning
Committee Chair:
Heath, Paul
Committee Co-Chair:
Rinker, Ron

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Pueblo Indians ( lcsh )
Buildings ( fast )
Pueblo Indians ( fast )
Buildings, structures, etc -- Designs and plans -- Mesa Verde National Park (Colo.) ( lcsh )
Colorado -- Mesa Verde National Park ( fast )
Genre:
Designs and plans. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Designs and plans ( fast )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 108-110).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Architecture, College of Design and Planning.
Statement of Responsibility:
A. Anthony Anella.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
13775082 ( OCLC )
ocm13775082
Classification:
LD1190 .A8785 ( lcc )

Full Text
Between Sacred Mountains


Date Due





BETWEEN
SACRED
MOUNTAINS
An Architectural Thesis Presented to
the College of Design and Planning University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Architecture
A. Anthony Anella Spring 1986


For Wege and Joan,
whose life together 1s an Inspiration In living life well -- with Integrity, compassion, humor and joy.


The Thesis of
A. Anthony Anella is approved.
/n
Paul Heath, Committee Chairman
Ron Rinker, Principal Advisor University of Colorado at Denver
Date________'fiG


Acknowledgements
What has made this experience so enjoyable are the people I have met along the way. I am deeply indebted to many who have helped me in every phase of my project. Contributing much to whatever success my work may show, they are in no way responsible for its failures.
I have been especially impressed by the competence and dedication of the National Park Service staff who have helped me. In particular I thank Robert C. Heyder, Superintendent of Mesa Verde National Park; Dr. Jack Smith, park archaeologist; Allan Bohnert, curator; and Margo Surovik-Bohnert who is the curator of the Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores. Michael Le Borgne, Les Siroki, Judy Notch and Edie Raney of the National Park Service's regional office also helped. As did Ron Mallory, Bob Bangs and Jack Hall of Mesa Verde.
The Brick Institute of America has been very helpful and supportive. When I first discussed the possibility of the brick industry in America helping to finance this project with Dave Holland, the regional executive director of the Brick Institute, I found not only a sympathetic response but also someone whose 65-year-old mother was getting her Ph.D. in archaeology 1n Arizona! I would also like to thank George Hanson, the distinguished director of engineering at the Brick Institute, for his help; he would make a good teacher.
Ron Rinker served as my professional advisor. When I was beginning the project Ron calmed my anxiety by giving me the following advice: "The greatest gift you can give to a jury or to anyone is
expressing yourself as honestly as you can." This thesis respresents my best effort to follow that advice.
Professor Chester Nagel has my greatest respect and admiration for the person he is: a distinguished, self-made educator who went from the humble beginnings of wearing an unmatched pair of shoes in his first grade class in south Texas to the University of Texas at Austin and then Harvard where he became a valued colleague of Walter Gropius and I.M. Pei. I would also like to thank Professor Paul Heath, my faculty advisor, for his ability as a teacher in guiding me through this endeavor.
Thanks also to fellow students Matt McMullen, Don Harrier, Jim Smith, Margaret Reid and Tim Hannagan: they kept me from barking at the birds! The helpful criticism of Professors D.C. Holder, John Shuttleworth, Francine Haber and Bob Kindig is also appreciated.
H.M. Wormlngton, the distinguished author of Prehistoric Indians of the Southwest, took the time to let me show her the development of my project. Her criticism of it -- from a non-architectural point of view made a difference. Other non-architects whose point of view offered refreshing insights into how to design a visitor's center and archaeologic research facility for Mesa Verde National Park include Bob Akerley of the Denver Museum of Natural History; Georgia Contiguglia of the Colorado Heritage Center; Jerry Hillhouse, Judy


McConnell and Richard Teltz of the Denver Art Museum; and Bill Winkler of Cortez, Colorado, a life-long Mesa Verde enthusiast, who advised me: "What excites me about this country and holds me in it is all we
don't know about it. Try to capture that sense of wonder!"
Architects who have influenced my work on this project include Cab Childress FAIA who introduced me to the idea of "lines of force" as a way of organizing architecture in the arid American West; Antoine Predock FAIA of Albuquerque whose Rio Grande Nature Center was an Inspiration in learning how to tell a story with architecture; and Dean George Anselevicius FAIA of the University of New Mexico who is perhaps the best teacher of architecture in this country. I am especially Indebted to the work of the Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck for his exploration of "counterform" and the "in-between" as the bases for a more humanistic architecture.
And finally I would like to thank my family and friends who help make it all meaningful: Ellen Anderman, Evan Anderman, Mary Anella, Albert Anella, Richard B. Cattell, M.D., Peter Hodge, Sue-Ellen Horwitz, Cara McCulloch, Claudia McCulloch, Tom McGarry, David Mesple and Roz Schneider. This bud is for you.


CONTENTS
I. Preface
II. Thesis Statemenet
III. Site Analysis
IV. Program
V. Conclusion
VI. Bibliography


Preface


All doctrines, all politics and civilization exurge from you,
All sculpture and monuments, and anything Inscribed anywhere, are tallied 1n you,
The gist of histories and statistics as far back as the records reach, 1s 1n you this hour and myths and tales the same,
If you were not breathing and walking here, where would they all be?
The most renowned poems would be ashes....orations and plays would be vacuums.
All architecture is what you do to it when you look upon it;
Did you think 1t was in the white or gray stone? or the lines of the arches and cornices?
Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass


In ancient, mythmaking times, people endowed natural forces volcanoes, storms, rivers with human attributes. Our bent in modern times seems to be to endow our outsize human powers, which surpass by far those of Zeus or Athena, with the inexorability of natural forces. The ancients personalized nature; we depersonalize ourselves. We brought nature under control but let ourselves slip beyond control, and now we cower before arsenals of our own making.
"Notes and Comment"
The New Yorker 9 December 1985.
We live in an age obsessed by its own inventiveness. The dilemma of such an obsession derives from the predicament such invention creates. Informed with experiences such as Three Mile Island, the Love Canal, Times Beach Missouri, Bhopal India, and now Chernobyl, we lose our faith in our Inventiveness. We are forced to question the premise that leads to such destructive creation.
I believe the dilemma of this modern dialectic in which the advance of civilization and the destruction of nature seem to occur simultaneously accounts for much of the turmoil in the practice of architecture during the so-called post-modern era. The calamity of 1945 forced forever into question the traditional values upon which modern European art and architecture had been premised. No longer could architecture continue to rely on a progressivist view of man and h1s technology. No longer could architecture continue to depend on an aesthetic formalism that was premised on a betrayed utopian ideology. No longer could architecture continue to permit the reduction of its history to a simplistic set of platitudes arranged around a cultural vacuum. And no longer could architecture continue to emphasize the hierarchy of the object without regard for the disconcerting schism such an emphasis creates with its surroundings.


The relationship between man and object as it reflects the larger relationship between man and nature is the central issue of our time. It is what distinguishes the modern from the post-modern era and what makes the architecture of the Anasazi at Mesa Verde so important.
I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico and as a child I loved visiting the dances held at the nearby Pueblos of San Felipe, Jemez and Acoma. This past Christmas Day I went to a dance at Santa Ana on the Jemez River. It 1s beautiful how the plaza where the dances are held opens up at the southeast corner to permit a view of the Sandia Mountains. The plaza -- a void: the opposite of an object-in-space -- not only frames the dances, it also frames (and defers to) the natural setting it is a part of. How different an attitude this represents from that of our American cities which fill their downtown "voids" with sometimes arrogant and oftentimes ugly skyscrapers.
Without being overly romantic I think it is fair to say that the architecture of the Anasazi at Mesa Verde as well as the architecture of their descendents, the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, achieves a certain equipoise in relation to the surrounding natural setting. Whether this is inadvertently due to the limitations of their technology (they had no bulldozers so they had to conform to the existing topography) or intentional is immaterial. The effect is the same. They achieve a compelling balance in their architecture between the preconceived order of their ritual ceremonies that their villages are planned to frame and the topographical circumstances and physical Idiosyncrasies of the site. A tangible sense of place develops in their architecture because it is premised on such a powerful sense of belonging to a larger natural whole.
Vincent Scully in his book Pueblo: Mountain, Village, Dance


points out the difference between "the vast majority of early
civilizations -- Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Meso-American and so on --
[which] fairly obviously set out to imitate natural forms in their
monumental buildings and to geometricize them at landscape scale, so
creating conscious Images of mountain, sun's rays, river, swamp and
clouds,"1 with the architecture of the ancient Greeks:
The Greek revolts from this calculated symbiosis. Because the landscape is sacred it embodies its own divinity separate from man, who completes it completes the structure of things as they are -- by placing it in a house, a naos, as a shelter for his own image of the god of that place. Then he surrounds 1t with columns, like images of standing men, and later 1n his history he describes them verbally in such terms. But for the exterior body of the peripheral temple as a whole the Greek seems to have had only two special imagistic words: aetos, "eagle," for that broad triangle which the Romans were later to call the pediment; and ptera, "wings", for the peripheral colonnades.
So, while the aetos may seem to echo mountain shapes a little, that is apparently not how the Greek primarily saw it. His temples embody not the natural, but the man conceived divinity. They are heroic; they confront and balance the earth shapes but are not of them. They are the eagles of Zeus, wingspreading, through whom mankind bursts free.* ^
Western civilization has been premised on this concept of freedom from nature ever since.3 It is a concept that is intrinsic to our Western world view and a concept that is fundamentally different from the world view represented by the architecture of the Anasazi. Their architecture conforms to the clefts in the cliffs and becomes a part of them. It provides a glimpse at a different premise upon which to base the fundamental relationship between man and nature, and perhaps suggests an explanation (and solution) for our present predicament.
I do not intend to promote the myth that the Anasazi lived in complete harmony with nature. The story of their 700 year occupation of the Mesa Verde and its eventual abandonment testifies differently.


According to park archaelogist Dr. Jack Smith that story is "the story of a people trying to make a living in an arid land at first as hunter-gatherers by dealing with the circumstances of the land and then as farmers by planting the circumstances of their livelihood as they simultaneously disrupted the balance of their own existence." Indeed the sequence of development at Mesa Verde consists of four identifiable cultural periods in which an increase in the food-producing capability led to an increase in the population and consequently the need for more food as the Anasazi struggled to maintain a balance and equilibrium with the land. The very act of cultivating corn is a human intervention in the landscape. But it is an intervention premised on a different reality. The farmer who carefully recycles last year's manure for next year's harvest is aware of the fact that by not doing so he jeopardizes his livelihood. It does not take long to deplete the soil in his fields. For him the logic intrinsic to such Impartial considerations of long term Interests is self-evident. It may be less obvious for us who have even lost the Greek's constant awareness that nature indubitably exists. For the Anasazi, man's relationship to nature was profound. For the Greek 1t was tragic. For us it is trivial: we buy our corn from the supermarket pre-packaged 1n cellophane.
The subtle evidence of acid rain and the greenhouse effect the unanticipated results of decades of industrial pollution -- is only now manifesting itself. The cause and effect relationship between ourselves and nature is less immediate but eventually the consequences of neglecting this relationship catch up with us. It would be useless to try and ignore the dilemma posed by the modern world by retreating


into simpler, agrarian existences. But we can learn to revere again the basic premise which sustains the farmer: that man is a part of nature, not separate from it, and that he owes his existence to sacred
circles which are in his own interest to protect and nurture.
* *
The problem of my thesis 1s this: How can we begin to understand and perceive the architecture of the Anasazi who have such an entirely different view of man and nature from the one advanced by the modern European tradition we are a part of?
Many visitors come from great distances to visit Mesa Verde National Park. They are generally unfamiliar with the area and the natural and human history that make 1t so distinctive. According to the National Park Services General Management Plan "The quality of the visitor experience at Mesa Verde relies on effective interpretation perhaps more than at any other National Park."5 Hence there are two purposes of Mesa Verde National Park. One 1s to preserve the cultural, natural, and scientific resources of the area. The other is interpretive: to provide the public with an awareness of the natural
and human history that evolved there, so they might better be able to imagine prehistoric life on the Mesa Verde. Interpretation is the essence of Mesa Verde National Park and interpretation is the intent of my architectural thesis: How can architecture become part of this Interpretive process as well as a building to enclose it?
Understanding how the Anasazi viewed their world is elusive at best. There 1s no written record and what we can learn about how they might have considered themselves in the scheme of the larger landscape they existed in must be deduced from the artifacts of that existence. For purposes of this thesis I have tried to gain a better


understanding of how the Anasazi might have viewed their world by focusing primarily on the architecture and pottery that remain in the archaeological record as both reflection and manifestation of that view. I have also looked to modern Pueblo planning to gain insights into an Anasazi conception of reality that is obscured by seven centuries. I realize one must be careful not to make too direct an analogy between the Anasazi and the modern Pueblo people. Although most anthropologists seem to believe that the Anasazi are the ancestors of many if not all of the modern Pueblos,6 seven hundred years separate the abandonment of Mesa Verde from the modern Pueblo existence. Nevertheless the similarities between the Anasazi and modern Pueblo traditions have convinced me of the relevence of such a study for purposes of my own lay speculation regarding the differences between their world view and our own.
According to Alfonso Ortiz who 1s himself a Pueblo Indian and formerly a professor of anthropology at Princeton University,
A world view provides a people with a structure of reality; it defines, classifies and orders the "really real" in the universe, in their world and 1n their society....But what would be some of the constituent parts or categories of a world view? Space and time are, of course, the obvious initial candidates, 1f only for the reason that phenomenologists -- including anthropologists, philosophers, and historians of religion -- have compiled an impressive record of evidence that space and time do provide man with h1s primary level of orientation to reality. This is true enough if we add the cavil that none of the pueblos, to the best of my knowledge, has abstract terms for space and time; space 1s only meaningful as the distance between two points, and time cannot be understood apart from the forces and changes 1n nature which give 1t relevence and meaning. It is precisely when time becomes cut up Into arbitrarily abstract units (weeks, hours, minutes, seconds) that tribal peoples lose all similarity in their time-reckoning customs with those of Western peoples. And these smaller units of time reckoning are precisely the ones which concern Western minds the most.


In the same way we reckon time by cutting it into arbitrarily abstract units, we organize our spatial world by subdividing it into square mile sections. A bird's eye view of the United States reveals a giant gridiron imposed on the natural landscape by the early surveyors carrying out the mandate of the Continental Congress. In 1785 a Land Ordinance was passed to survey the entire area of the United States into townships of six square miles. The townships were further subdivided into blocks of thirty-six sections of one square mile (640 acres) each.
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The relationship of this grid to the landscape is as arbitrary as it is egalitarian: the boundary requirements of cities, villages, farms and open land were considered to be all the same. Nevertheless, it provided the matrix for a scientific order that has Influenced our society ever since.
This matrix has Its roots in ancient Greece during the time of
Plato when Western man began conceptualizing what divine order should
look like. Hippodamus of Milelutus initiated the
practice of the mathematical "plat" based not on a topographical reality but on numerical configurations, whether cosmological or demographic. The Milelutus plan is a Pythagorean theorem, based on ideal Pythagorean proportions of geometirc relationships: a: b = b : c.
Hence when the founding fathers of the United States were considering how to settle our nation in ways that would be consistent with their vision of the world as advanced by their design for government, they chose to organize the landscape much differently than the Pueblos did.


Thomas
square
Jefferson's plan for Washington appears blocks, 11 blocks east and west and 3
as a checkerboard of blocks north and south.
9
Denver's suburbs are organized according to
this same grid.


Albuquerque is divided into quadrants by Central Avenue -- old Route
66 -- and the tracks of the Santa Fe Railroad, each of which parallel this grid.
Cortez, in southwestern Colorado, stretches across the Colorado Plateau along this grid as does the town of Mancos.


Look at a map of the Western United States and you see a rectilinear grid superimposed on the landscape. The boundaries of states such as Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah reflect this rectilinearity. So do the town plans for Denver or Albuquerque, Mancos or Cortez.
The Pueblos organize the same landscape and their place within it much differently:
The first generalization that can be made about the Pueblos is that they all set careful limits to the boundaries of their world and order everything within it. These boundaries are not the same but, more important, the principles of setting boundaries are since all use phenomena in the four cardinal directions, either mountains or bodies of water, usually both, to set them...All peoples try to bring their definitions of group space somehow in line with their cosmoloqies but the Pueblos are unusually precise about it. 10
Just how precise the Pueblos are at organizing their architecture to reflect their cosmology is best exemplified by Taos Pueblo. There the great plaza 1s arranged around a view to Taos Mountain from which flows the sacred creek which bisects the pueblo into a northern and southern apartment block. Nestled within the peaks and ridges of mountain is Blue Lake which, according to the Taos creation myth, is the great source through which all mankind emerged from the underworld. All Pueblos share this creation myth and symbolize it in the floor of their ceremonial kivas with a round, centrally-located, earth navel notch called a sipapuJ1 The northern and southern apartment blocks correspond to the winter and summer moieties that organize Taos society. On May 3, 1977 I witnessed a foot race between the winter and summer clan on a quarter-mile-long straightway 1n front of the northern apartment block. The race was Intended to help the sun on its journey from the winter to the summer solstice. Only the men and boys raced; the runners wore loincloths and were


painted with a reddish clay on the trunk of their bodies and a white wash on their extremities. Eagle feathers, evergreen boughs and willow leaves adorned their hair. The women, wrapped in brightly-colored blankets watched from the rooftops. As the long files of runners filled the plaza the precise architectural representation of the Taos world view was complete: the natural mountain and the manmade pueblo together framed and encouraged the human ritual act.
1 9
Spiritually, socially and physically all were one.
At Sandia Pueblo, not far from Albuquerque, the plan of the town is inflected off the east-west axis in order to orient the plaza toward the dominant landscape focus on the horizon: the central horns of Sandia Mountain.
Compare this sense of town planning with that of Albuquerque which adheres to an east-west, north-south orthagonal grid for its infrastructure. Santa Ana Pueblo maintains the principle east-west axis of the pueblo to maximize the southern exposure on the long


dimension of the housing units. Here the significant landscape focus to Sandia Mountain is accommadated not in plan, as at nearby Sandia Pueblo, but in section: at the souteast corner of the plaza the land slopes down permitting a view to the mountain over the rooftops of the single-story houses that otherwise would be in the way.
At Tesuque, the main gap in the plaza leads the eye directly to Lake Peak which is Tesuque's sacred mountain to the eastJ3
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Another characteristic of Pueblo planning is to reserve the center of the town for a communal open space. This space is what receives the Pueblo's primary design attention; the domestic dwellings are arranged around this center so as to define the configuration of the plaza. Unlike European plazas which read as complete forms with consistently defined edges, the Pueblo plazas read in plan as incomplete figures. What completes them are the views to the landscape their irregularities allow to become a part of the central space. The plaza at Taos Pueblo is completed by a view to Taos Mountain; the plaza at Tesuque is closed by a view to Lake Peak; both Sandia and Santa Ana incorporate Sandla Mountain as a fundamental part of their world view by bringing 1t into their plazas. The European plaza is a complete enclosure: it creates a social focus by protecting Itself from what happens around it. Vitruvius Identifies the forum the prototypical European plaza
Fig. 2. Home: The Forum llomamim in early Imperial times


--with a space which is defined by being closed all around by architecture:
The Greeks lay out their forums 1n the form of a square surrounded by very spacious double colonnades, adorn them with columns set rather closely together, and with entablatures of stone or marble, and construct walks above in the upper story. But in the cities of Italy the same method cannot be followed, for the reason that it 1s a custom handed down from our ancestors that gladiatorial shows should be given 1n the forum. Therefore let the Intercolumniations round the show be pretty wide; round about in the colonnades put the bankers' offices; and have balconies on the upper floor properly arranged so as to be convenient; and to bring in some public revenue.14
In City Planning According to Artistic Principles, a classic in cityplanning literature, Camillo Sitte discusses the close kinship between the ancient forum and the development of the European plaza:
....the way in which churches and palaces used to form part of building complexes calls our attention once more to the nature of the ancient forum, which was so rigorously closed off from the outside. If one surveys Medieval and Renaissance plazas, especially those of Italy, with regard to this particular characteristic, one becomes aware that tradition persisted a long time 1n this respect and that it is largely this feature which makes for a harmonious total effect. ^
The Piazza del Duomo in Ravenna


maintains this enclosure by becoming the hub of a plnwheel circulation system that rotates around the plaza. According to Sitte, "from any point within the plaza no more than one single view out of it is possible at a time, hence there is only a single interruption in the enclosure of the whole."1 This remarkable feature occurs so often, and with such a range of variations, that according to Sitte "it must be considered to be one of the major conscious or subconscious principles of old city planning."17 Other examples include the Piazza del Duomo in Pistoia and the Piazza San Pietro in Mantua.
The European notion of the plaza implies that the dominant spatial orientation as well as that of motion is centrifugal or outward. Man 1s conceived to be at the center of a plnwheel circulation system that rotates about him and the conceptualized universe of his religion. The Parthenon is an idealized architectural object-in-space placed in the center of the Acropolis.
Fig. 23. Pistoia: Piazza del Duomo. a. Cathedral.b. Baptistery.c. Bishop s Palace.d. Palazzo del Comune. e. Palazzo del Podesta
Fig. 24. Mantua: Piazza S. Pietro, a. S. Pietro. b. Palazzo Reale.c. Bishops Palace


The forum at Pompeii 1s completely enclosed by the Temples of Jupiter, Vespasian, and Apollo as well as a basilica and various other public buildings.
Fig. 1. Pompeii: The Forum. I. Temple of Jupiter.II. M ocelli im provision market).III. Sanctuary of the Citv Lures.IV. Temple ot Vespasian.V. Building of Eumachia.VI. Comitium.VII. Office -.f the Duumvirs.VIII. The City Council.IX. Olfice of the Aediles. \. Basilica.XI. Temple of Apollo. XII. Market building


The plaza of St. Peter's in Rome is calculated to frame the Cathedral: the Catholic conception of ideal order.
The Pueblo plaza is much different: it is the point of intersection
of views to sacred mountains. The landscape 1s intentionally brought
Into their plazas not excluded from them. The Pueblos do not deny the
principle of closure in constructing their plazas; rather, they
Incorporate the natural landscape as part of the perceptual enclosure
rather than excluding it, as the Greeks and Romans did, to preserve
the man-made conceptual order. The Pueblo notion of the plaza
reflects a completely different world view:
All the Pueblos also have a well-elaborated conception and symbolization of the middle or center of the cosmos, represented by a sipapu, an earth navel, or the entire village. Usually there are many different centers because sacred space can be recreated again and again without ever exhausting its reality....
The elaboration of the notion of the center has the further implication that the dominant spatial orientation, as well as that of motion, 1s centripetal or inward. That is to say, all things are defined and represented by reference to a center.18
Man is not at the center of the Pueblo world view. The center is


a void connoting the mystery of the spirit. Only during days of
ritual is that void filled: only when they dance is the plaza
transformed into a place of worship. Even then what is worshiped is
not man himself -- although he is perceived to be a part of 1t -- but
rather the sanctity of man's place within nature:
Something has walked into the plaza. It 1s the deer, now dead, the ghost deer, whom you heard last night breaking the 1ce in the stream with his forefeet, driven down from the mountain by the cold. Or it is equally the ur-hunter himself, Bushman and Cro-Magnon, alive and mad in the skin of the dead animal he has come to know better then he knows himself and thus is he. This is shamanislm; it is all animal power in one way or another, man or deer the same.
Under the hanging tongue of the dead beast the man's set face is seen. 19
* *
The center also plays an Important role in how Mimbres and Anasazi pottery painting was structured and organized. Like the plaza in Pueblo town planning, the center of a bowl serves as its visual focal point. Most often the center is reserved as a blank space with most of the surrounding ground covered by paint.


Attention is thus called to the center by its contrasting absence of imagery. Occasionally the center marks the intersection of two lines which subdivide the bowl into a surface of four wedge-shaped sections.
According to J.J. Brody "Part of the visual success of [such] painting is due to the use of tension-producing motifs including curvilinear interlocking scrolls emerging from or opposed to straight lines or solid triangles, chevrons with one straight and one wavy line and straight line hachures or solid areas opposing units filled with wavy lines." 20


Mimbres and Anasazl pottery painting achieve a rare balance by contrasting curvilinear with rectilinear design motifs on a triangular field emanating from a circular center.
In all Native American pottery traditions of the Southwest there is a suggestion of a positive-negative duality represented by strong dark-light contrasts. 21 Figure and ground are treated as visual co-equals resulting in some striking examples of figure-ground reversal.
At the heart of this tradition are several consistent features including
the commitment to maintaining the picture plane by avoiding three-dimensional illusions, the adjustment of picture frames so that painted shapes were often made to conform to the shifting planes of globular or spherical vessels, the repetition of a few basic geometric elements 1n mathematically predictable sequences, and, above all, the treatment of paint and background as visual co-equals.22
The commitment to a two-dimensional imagery in their pottery painting is consistent with the physical environment of the southwest. The landscape 1n which the Anasazl lived and worked and died is so vast that, depending on the light, far away mountains and mesas and buttes seem almost two dimensional because of their distance from the


viewpoint. The Immensity of such a landscape suggests abstraction and is, I believe, what accounts for the remarkably sophisticated abstract design produced by a culture which, from an empirical point of view, was relatively literal. The interlocking scroll is a recurrent design motif because 1t depicts a water symbol the most precious resource 1n the arid Anasazl world. According to Richard Conn, the curator of Native American Art at the Denver Art Museum, the interlocking scroll depicts a stylized bird (robin?) beak.^3 Birds were identified with rain in a literal way because of their increased activity before a rain storm. It is doubtful the Anasazl could conceive of this Increased activity in terms of a change in barometric pressure but their perceptiveness did allow them to apprehend the relationship.
The "adjustment of picture frames so that painted shapes were often made to conform to the shifting planes of globular or spherical vessels" was consistent with an attitude the Anasazi held regarding the relationship of their architecture to the surrounding cliffs. The design of their pottery painting was usually organized into architectonically prescribed units that were sometimes divided into panels but more often were covered by continuously repeated motifs?4 In contrast to Mimbres painting, the Anasazi used a much higher proportion of jars and other exterior forms as painting surfaces with Important effects on the design systems. 25 when they painted on the concave interior surfaces of bowls, their designs like the architecture they built in the bowl-shaped concavities of the
surrounding cliffs conformed to the topographical contours of the bowl. The shape of the bowl, like the shape of the cl Iff, established the order which their pottery painting and masonry walls responded to.


Anasazi pottery painting tended to be organized either perdendicularly or parallel to the contours of the bowl; the masonry walls at Mesa Verde tended to be organized perpendicularly or parallel to the topography of the cliff.
In either case the physical reasons for a design strategy should be self-evident.
J.J. Brody in his discussion of "Mimbres Art as Metaphor" summarizes the design of pottery painting in the Native American tradition of the southwest:
Every successful Mimbres nonflguratlve picture 1s in stasis as a harmonic balance of tensions: dark-light, positivenegative, curve-straight, in-out, push-pull, physical space-illusory space. In every case the painter began with neuter, deliberately created binary oppositions of which any pair had the potential for fragmenting the composition, and then brought all of these forces into balance until the


picture was made self-contained. The balance was always a matter of linking each pair of oppositions to each other and of treating all pairs in parallel ways. Thus color, linear direction, visual direction, and visual space were all dealt with as pictorial co-equals, and specific motifs are no more than the by-product of the painting process. Geometric motifs may very well have been recognized and even named, but they probably had no meaning out of context and their context was structural. The motifs exist only in relation to each other and as elements of a pictorial universe, and everything, Including the technology that produced the picture surface and its tense draftsmanship, contributed to the image of that universe whose substance was made up of pairs of opposing forces. If these were not in balance the universe could not be held together; aesthetically and intellectually the picture was a failure. 6


* *
The so-called primitive art and architecture of the Anasazi at Mesa Verde and of their descendents, the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, is "modern" in its complexity and sophistication. The best of it consists of highly refined abstractions of forms and of realities that are found 1n nature. When viewed as pure abstractions the art seems incomprehensible but when it 1s viewed as a distillation of nature it becomes profoundly meaningful. The dances of the Pueblos ritualize the most important concern of Pueblo society: self-perpetuation. As agriculturists they are preoccupied by fertility. The dances not only intend to bring about that fertility in specific ways (Rain Dance, Corn Dance, Buffalo Dance) but also more generally. In the act of making dances in the hollow spaces of their centralized plazas is symbolized, in a beautifully subtle way, the act of procreation. Man and Earth become one to the rhythmic drumbeat of deerskin stretched over cottonwood.
As a minority living on small reservations surrounded by a dominant culture consisting of a much different world view, the Pueblos are also preoccupied by their own cultural continuity. In this they perhaps offer us their greatest lesson as we struggle to prevent our own nuclear self-destruction. The interlocking scroll is a recurrent design motif in both Anasazi and Mlmbres pottery painting as well as contemporary Pueblo pottery design because it depicts a water symbol, the most precious resource in their arid world. It reminds me of the moment before a kiss: that wonderful tension of the In-between before two beings merge and become one. The main difference between this abstraction and those of our own in the twentieth century is that their art always reflects the natural world


-- the most powerful force in their lives. The art created in the context of the twentieth century reflects not so much the natural world as mans own inventiveness. Indeed inventiveness and novelty become the yardstick by which modern art and architecture are measured. Ours is an age so preoccupied with its own inventiveness for the sake of invention and not for the sake of what such invention accomplishes that it permits the absurd existence of silent projectiles which wait dysfunctionally for the ultimate contradiction of mutually assured destruction.
Art for art's sake 1s a concept that I guess would be foreign to the Anasazi mind: the archaeological evidence they left behind suggests they organized their world perceptually, not conceptually. Abstraction that abstracts for Its own sake, or self-expression for the sake of self-expression without concern for content becomes hollow and void of meaning in their world. Yet art for art's sake seems a pervasive concept of the modern world. Human endeavor for its own sake has led to some of the major breakthroughs in human history. The Arabic concept of zero -- nothingness -- the glory of the Italian Renaissance and Einstein's thought experiments all transcend the mere representation of nature and become predictions instead. They bridge the abyss that separates the two realities of human history: the one we used to organize perceptually from the one we now understand conceptually. When did this transition occur?
In The Universe and Dr. Einstein, Lincoln Barnett makes the following observation:
In the evolution of scientific thought, one fact has become impressively clear: there is no mystery of the physical world which does not point to a mystery beyond itself. All highroads of the intellect, all byways of theory


and conjecture lead ultimately to an abyss that human ingenuity can never span. For man is enchained by the very condition of his being, his finiteness and Involvement in nature. The farther he extends h1s horizons, the more vividly he recognizes the fact that, as the physicist Niels Bohr puts it, "we are both spectators and actors in the great drama of existence." Man is thus his own greatest mystery.
He does not understand the vast veiled universe into which he has been cast for the reason that he does not understand himself. He comprehends but little of his organic processes and even less of his unique capacity to perceive the world about him, to reason and to dream. Least of all does he understand his noblest and most mysterious faculty: the ability to transcend himself and perceive himself in the act of perception.^7
Along with science for science's sake -- indeed the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake -- art for art's sake is perhaps the most noble of all human impulses. The recognition and appreciation of beauty both integral parts of the need for beauty -- may be the driving force behind the outstanding accomplishments of human history. Paul Dirac, who predicted the existence of anti-matter two years before any form of 1t was observed and who won a share in the Nobel Prize in Physics 1n 1933 for the work that included the prediction wrote: "It is more important to have beauty in one's equations than
to have them fit experiment. It seems that if one is working from the point of view of getting beauty Into one's equations, and if one has really a sound Insight, one 1s on a sure line of progress." When asked how one recognizes beauty in a theory Dirac responded; "Well --you feel it. Just like beauty in a picture or beauty in music. You can't describe it, you just have to accept that you're not susceptible to it. No one can explain it to you. If someone doesn't appreciate
the beauty of music, what can you do? Give 'em up!" ^

On Friday, the twenty-first of March, 1986 I had the profound privilege of witnessing a panel discussion during Westweek, a three-


day-long design conference held at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, California. Panelists included Paul Ehrlich, Bing professor of population studies at Stanford University; Albert R. Hibbs, manager of space science application at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Nobel laureate physicist Richard Feynman of Caltech; June Wayne, artist, whose work is inspired by the Voyageur images from space; and Tom Van Sant, artist. Van Sant had installed a sculpture consisting of an array of 2-foot-square mirrors which, during the three-day-long conference, he periodically covered and uncovered. Hovering overhead, twenty-two thousand miles 1n space was a GOES 4 satellite which continuously photographed the "blinking" affect achieved by covering and uncovering the mirrors. As Van Sant showed the images of this blinking as seen from the satellite, the earth first appeared as a solitary sphere against the immense backdrop of space. With a sequence of time lapse photographs the image of earth zoomed larger and larger (periodically punctuated by a reflected sparkle from the California coast) until the matrix of Los Angeles' ubiquitous freeways resolved themselves as an ordered grid resting on the curvilinear coastline. Closer and closer the image of earth became until building outlines, automobiles, a ring of people around the array of mirrors and finally a little boy -- Van Sant's son -- were perceivable. A closeup of the pupil in the little boy's eye taken by a hand-held camera then dissolved into the original image of the earth taken by a remote-controlled satellite 22,000 miles away. In its vast cosmic picture the abyss between macrocosmos and microcosmos -- the very big and the very little was bridged and the whole complex of the universe seemed suddenly unified in perhaps one of the most important


images since man began making images: the beautiful and solitary sphere of earth resolved into a homogeneous fabric in which political ideology and egocentric ambition became simply changes 1n the order imposed on the primordial field.
Whether man chooses to live with the earth or merely on 1t will determine h1s future. In spite of all the technological achievements of western civilization which threaten to detroy even as they are capable of such remarkable creation, man still owes his existence to invisible forces that He behind and beyond the mask of his empirical reality. Such forces represent the ultimate reality because they are the essential conditions which organized matter and energy in the concentric configurations of our universe. They existed before the present state of equilibrium which affords us life and they will exist afterwards in spite of what man may do to disrupt the balance. They belong to an Infinite cycle of existence in which mankind, depending on its choices, may be a relatively brief participant. The sublime beauty of the Mesa Verde 1s Its ultimate indifference to man's presence. It is an Indifference which should remind man of his place within nature and convince mankind that the continuous link which connects our prehistoric past with the future ought to be revered, not broken:
Which comes first: the blessing or the prayer? It is not easy in this landscape to separate the role of man from the role of nature. The plateau country has been lived in for centuries, but the human presence is disguised even from the camera's eye. There are ruins like geological formations, disorders of tumbled stone. There are immense arrays of slowly crumbling rocks that look like ruins.


Footnotes
1. Vincent Scully, Pueblo/Mountain, Village, Dance, (New York: The Viking Press, 1975) p. 4
2. Ibid
3. Ibid, p. 7
4. In conversation, Mesa Verde National Park, 18 November 1985
5. Frederick Babb et al, General Management Plan for Mesa Verde
National Park, May 1979, p.3
6. Richard I. Ford, Albert H. Schroeder, Stewart L. Peckham, "Three Perspectives on Puebloan Prehistory," New Perspectives on the Pueblos, Alfonso Ortiz, editor, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, A School of American Research Book, 1984) pp. 19-39
7. Alfonso Ortiz, "Ritual Drama and the Pueblo world View," New
Perspectives on the Pueblos, Alfonso Ortiz, editor, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, A School of American Research Book, 1984) pp. 136-137
8. Sibyl Moholy-Nagy, Matrix of Man (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1968) p. 175
9. John W. Reps, Monumented Washington, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1967) p. 10
10. Alfonso Ortiz, "Ritual Drama and the Pueblo World View," New
Perspectives on the Pueblos p. 142
11. Ibid
12. Vincent Scully, Pueblo/Mountain, Village, Dance p. 37
13. Ibid, p. 157
14. Horace Freeland Judson, "Where Einstein and Picasso Meet" Newsweek, 17 November 1980, p. 23
15. Camillo Sitte, City Planning According to Artistic Principles
(New York: Random House: Columbia University Studies in Art History and Archaeology #2, 1965; first published 1889) p. 32
16. Ibid
17. Ibid
18. Alfonso Ortiz, "Ritual Drama and the Pueblo World View," New
Perspectives on the Pueblos


19. Vincent Scully, Pueblo/Mountain, Village, Dance p. 66
O CM J.J. Brady, Mimbres Painted Pottery, (Albuquerque: New Mexico Press, 1977) p. 92 University of
21. Ibid, p. 82
22. Ibid, p. 137
23. Lecture given 1n Professor Franclne Haber's class Architecture, College of Design and Planning, Colorado Denver, 28 January 1986 on American University of
24. J.J. Brady, Mimbres Painted Pottery p. 142
25. Ibid p.
26. Ibid p. 216
27. Lincoln Barnett, The Universe and Dr. Einstein (New York: Time Incorporated, 1948) p. 109
C30 CM cited in Horace Freeland Judson, "Where Meet," Newsweek, 17 November 1980, p. 23 Einstein and Picasso
29. J.B. Jackson, The Essential Landscape, University of New Mexico Press, 1985) p. 2 (Albuquerque: The


T hes i s Statement


One thing which struck him at once was that every mesa was duplicated by a cloud mesa, like a reflection, which lay motionless above it or moved slowly up from behind it. These cloud formations seemed to be always there, however hot and blue the sky. Sometimes they were flat terraces, ledges of vapour; sometimes they were domeshaped, or fantastic, like the tops of silvery pagodas, rising one above another, as if an oriental city lay directly behind the rock. The great tables of granite set down in an empty plain were inconceivable without their attendant clouds, which were a part of them as the smoke is part of the censer, or the foam of the wave.
- Will a Cather
Death Comes for the Archbishop


This thesis explores the role of architecture as interpreter: how architecture can interpret the story of a particular place and by its intervention enhance the perception of the story and the place. The goal is to make architecture that specifically responds to Mesa Verde as a place by telling the story of Mesa Verde. The challenge for accomplishing this goal involves understanding the story and then learning how to tell it in appropriate architectural terms that offer a message of both meaning and beauty.
It is my contention that focusing attention on telling the story of a particular place helps insure that the architecture be about and a part of the place in a meaningful and unself-conscious way. The thesis that architecture can play an active role in the interpretive process begins to shift the emphasis from an architecture based on the formal hierarchy of the object-in-space to an exploration of an architecture based on what happens "in-between." Interpretation is an interactive process. Architecture that purports to interpret must be concerned with that process: how it interacts with the user. It is not enough to have a unity of form that emphasizes the formal hierarchy of the object without regard for the relationship in-between the user and the object. There must be a unity of people and place. The relationship between people and place as it reflects the larger relationship between man and nature is the central issue of this thesis. It is premised on my belief that there are very few "right" answers in design and that what becomes valid are the relationships that are set up between the parts that engage the user in a meaningful dialogue with the whole.
There are at least three stories to tell at Mesa Verde. One is the story of the natural landscape: the powerful landforms of mesas


and buttes and plateaus which interact with the cloudforms in the sky to give Mesa Verde its special physical presence. Another is the story of the cultural landscape: the vestige of the man-made environment created by the Anasazi: the 700-year story of the prehistoric human response to the land in all its compelling mystery. Finally, there is the story of archaeology: how contemporary mart has attempted to delve into the mystery through multi-layered excavations that reveal those ancient connections with the earth.
To begin to learn how to tell these three stories I will take my cue from writers and then attempt to translate their craft into terms that can be expressed architecturally. What a storyteller does is to intentionally juxtapose parts of the narrative that otherwise would only occur coincidentally. These juxtapositions set up contrasts and comparisons that illuminate the subject matter, making previously existing--but imperceivable--patterns perceivable. Another writing example I will refer to is the so called "keyhole" technique of structuring an essay. According to this technique the beginning paragraph is like a funnel--starting broad and narrowing to a thesis statement--which relates the main idea of your argument to a more general context. The middle paragraphs provide the detailed body of the essay, fleshing out the details of the exposition. And the end paragraph is an inverted funnel: the thought starts moderately narrow--it restates the thesis statement of the first paragraph--and then pours out broader and broader implications and finer emphases.1 The three parts of this technique involve telling the audience what you are going to tell them, telling them and then telling them what you told them. I am also indebted to the Mexican muralist Jose


Clemente Orozco whose mural "The Epic Story of the Americas" I used to study under as an undergraduate. That work influenced me more than probably I am aware of in learning how to graphically communicate the story of Mesa Verde in all its epic proportions.
To tell the first story of Mesa Verde--the story of the natural landscape--I will rely on my own understanding of the landscape as well as an analysis technique proposed by Christian Norberg Schulz in his book Genius Loci. I am from Albuquerque, New Mexico. The recurrence of these words as I try to explain who I am to a new friend begins to indicate the importance of the land to my own sense of identity. Whatever aptitude and sustaining personal interest I have in architecture stems from my profound personal need to identify with place. Indeed, part of my interest in doing a thesis project at Mesa Verde is due to the resemblance of Mesa Verde's landscape to that of my birthplace. Christian Norberg Schulz recognized the importance of place and linked it with the fundamental purpose of architecture:
A place is a space which has a distinct character.
Since ancient times the genius loci or "spirit of place," has been recognized as a concrete reality man has to face and come to terms with in his daily life. Architecture means to visualize the genius loci, and the task of the architect is to create meaningful places, whereby he helps man to dwell.... The existential purpose of building (architecture) is therefore to make a site become a place, that is, to uncover the meanings potentially present in the given environment.2
The landscape of the American West and particularly those desert regions beyond the 100th Meridian that receive twenty-five inches of annual rainfall or less is a drama of immense proportion. What makes it so is the expansiveness of the vistas such arid landscapes offer. From Navajo Hill on the Mesa Verde you can see Shiprock some fifty miles away, and even further into Arizona beyond. The panorama


extends all the way from the San Juan Mountains in the east across the broad expanse of mesa and sky that is New Mexico to the striking land formations that stretch off into the distance of Utah. The relative lack of vegetation affords views which are so immense and so distant that, depending on the light, far away mountains and mesas and buttes seem almost two dimensional because of their distance from the viewpoint. In this treeless environment the landscape becomes a seemingly dimensionless expanse of open space in which cloudforms imitate landforms belonging to geologic epochs of nearly inconceivable periods of time.
For many, such immensity is threatening. Accustomed to the more humane landscapes of green pastures, cultivated fields or roads lined with poplars, such untamed vastness is disconcerting because we perceive and organize our world by searching for pattern and order. In the eastern part of the United States trees add a scale to the land which helps to organize it by establishing a rhythm which punctuates the landscape. The trees help to contain the horizon and subdivide the landscape into more humane proportions. Such wooded landscapes promote a sense of cordial intent between man and nature; they foster the picturesque perception that the force of wilderness has been tamed.^ In the arid American west this becomes a harder point to make. Here the scale is so distinctively grand that man is made to feel full force his own profound insignificance. Here when man scans the landscape in search of patterns that would lend meaning to his existence he finds only an immensity of space. The patterns are there but are harder to perceive in part because the information such vistas present is so vast. Only the best-trained geologists begin to understand the landscape because of patterns that they know exist


beyond the horizon: a repetitive sequence of basin and range, basin and range.4
When we contemplate our universe we search for comprehensible patterns in infinity: the stars add a humanizing scale to the heavens: Orion's Belt, the Big Dipper, the Southern Cross. What distinguishes music from noise is discernible pattern. Successful landscape photography and particularly landscape photography of the American West involves the discovery of pattern and order in what, from an artistic point of view, is chaos.5 The challenge of architecture in this landscape, I believe, involves composing our interventions such that they begin to organize the vastness of the vista by focusing our attention on those subtle geologic patterns in the landscape: the lines of force that exist between promontories on an otherwise flat and dimensionless horizon: the repetitive patterns of synclines and anticlines, mesas, buttes and mountains which become comprehensible because of their repetition across space and time.
To tell the second and third storiesthe cultural evolution of the Anasazi as understood through archaeological excavationI will depend on site visits, the archaeological record as interpreted by trained professionals and my own study of contemporary Pueblo planning and prehistoric Pueblo pottery. I will not pretend to try to understand the entire archaeological record in all its complexity or with all its contradictions. Rather what I hope to accomplish is to capture some of the excitement and wonder and intrigue of the archaeological findings unearthed at Mesa Verde during the last century. I want to translate some of the mystery of the Anasazi that the archaeologists and anthropologists have been pondering in terms


that the layman can appreciate. Such popular interpretation is perhaps justified by the nineteenth century naturalist Elliot Coues who stated that "The increase in knowledge is one thing, and its diffusion another; but the latter is the real measure of the usefulness of the former."6
*
If my thesis project is to become an exciting and stimulating part of the interpretive process at Mesa Verde National Park then it must begin to address the following two fundamental concepts: Perception as the basis of design
The appreciation of space and the perception of place should be the simple criteria by which architecture is designed and evaluated. Too often theories of organizational purity have taken precedence over how architecture is ultimately perceived. Rather than formulating
theories of preconceived order to impose on nature I hope to organize the building with an eye towards providing a rich variety of spatial and sensory experiences. I am primarily interested in providing the framework for perceiving the "genius" that makes Mesa Verde unique and special. To do this I must first of all determine what the genius of Mesa Verde is and then weave that genius into the spatial fabric of the Archaeologic Research and Visitor's Center. By emphasizing perception as the basis for design, the facility can begin to serve a stimulating interpretive function. Only when the surrounding environment takes over will the design of my thesis of architecture as interpretation become really successful.


Counterform
"The culture of particular form is approaching its end. The culture
of determined relations has begun." (Piet Mondrian, 1937)
Much of contemporary architecture is object-oriented without regard for what happens around or in-between objects. The Anasazi villages at Mesa Verde do not separate individual buildings from how they operate within the whole. What each part means in a qualitative sense depends on what they mean in terms of each other. Cliff Palace is not one object but a composition of many. The object is subordinated by its very repetition which precludes hierarchy in the object-oriented sense. All modules are treated structurally and
spatially the same. It is only their relation to each other and the surrounding cliff which given them their quality and meaning. The relationship between the figurative void of the surrounding cliff and the figurative volumes of the architecture transcends an emphasis on either one or the other. Cliff Palace provides a counterform for the surrounding cliff: a figurative volume to complement the negative volume of the sandstone ampitheater. It is the relationship between the parts of the building which make up a unified whole. The ampitheater provides a reciprocating counterform for the dwellings within it. It provides the other half of the dual relationship between object and void which an emphasis on either one or the other precludes.
* *
According to Karsten Harries in his essay "Thoughts on a Non-Arbi trary Architecture",
"...one task of architecture is still that of interpreting the world as a meaningful order in which the individual can


find his place in the midst of nature and in the midst of community. Time and space must be revealed in such a way that human beings are given their dwelling place, their ethos.11 7
Harries links the problem of arbitrariness in modern design to our greater freedom. ("To this, one may object that freedom has here been grasped inadequately, because only negatively: true freedom is not freedom from constraint, but rather to be constrained only by what one really is, by one's essence".) Modern man has emancipated himself from many of the natural constraints which confronted our "primitive" ancestors. In the process modern man has also lost his sense of place in the larger whole to which he should belong. Both modern and postmodern architecture are really part of the same tradition in this regard. Both aestheticize architecture with their emphasis on the object-in-space without due regard for the relationship betwqeen the object and what surrounds it. Both elevate architecture to the status of hero by looking almost exclusively to architecture for new directions rather than to the larger context. Both commit the sin of solipsism: the sin of regarding themselves perpetually in a mirror. And both inadvertently render architecture gutless because neither acknowledges that the problem of arbitrariness in architecture is not first of all an aesthetic one.9
The landscape of the American West should not be seen as merely an ideal setting for beautiful or heroic architectural acts. It is in itself a primary source of meaning and an original pedagogue.19 If architecture is to intervene in this landscape in a non-arbitrary way so that it helps man to dwell in and make sense out of this distinctively vast world, then it must begin with respectful attention to the differences between the landscape of the American West and


others. It must learn to respond to the grand scale of the setting that makes this region so extraordinary. Trusting that such attention will grow into affection and such affection into a measure of competence, I believe that architecture can begin to complement the land by helping man to live with, and not merely on or in spite of it.


FOOTNOTES
1. Sheridan Baker, The Practical Sty!ist, (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 4th Edition, 1977) p. 22.
2. Christian Norberg-Schulz, Genius Loci, (New York: Rizzoli, 1980) pp. 5 18.
3. John Szarkowski, American Landscapes, (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1981) p. 6.
4. John McPhee, Basin and Range, (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1980).
5. Szarkowski, American Landscapes, p. 6.
6. Cited in Robert H. Lister and Florence C. Lister, Those Who Came Before, (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1983) p. 9.
7. Karsten Harries, "Thoughts on a Non-Arbitrary Architecture", Perspecta 20 (Cambridge and London: MIT Press, 1983) p. 16.
8. Ibid. p. 11.
9. For a discussion of arbitrariness in architecture please read Harries, "Thoughts on a Non-Arbitrary Architecture".
10. Szarkowski, American Landscapes, p. 5.


Site Analysis


Like many of the more useful words in our language, landscape has proved highly adaptable, and has accepted with grace a wide variety of meanings, including those for which we might alternatively use the words, culture, overview, geography, or prospect. It has also combined freely with other words, so that we speak without embarrassment of the urban landscape or the political landscape. Without disputing the usefulness of such concepts, the word is used here in a much more restricted sense, to denote a family of pictures concerned with two Issues: the formal problems of picture making, and the philosophical meaning of the natural sitethose places where man's hegemony seems incomplete. Or, one might say that landscape pictures are those that express an apprehension of the difference between our special human concerns and the earth's own compulsions.
We think of landscape pictures as an ancient genre, but it is in fact quite a modern one. It is true that St. Augustine said, fifteen centuries ago, that "We can never sufficiently thank Him for the gift of nature: that we exist and are alive, that we can enjoy the sight of earth and sky," but for a millennium artists made little use of his sweeping imprimatur, until Alberti and Columbus, the fifteenth century's two great rationalizers of space, defined coherent ways of looking at and thinking about the world. Even then, the art of landscape developed tentatively; and without forgetting the Venetians, or the seventeenth-century Dutch, or Poussin and Claude, it is possible to say that it is not until the end of the eighteenth century that the modern idea of landscape comes to flower. This idea was that the natural site is not merely an ideal setting for beautiful or heroic acts, but that it is in itself a primary source of meaning, and an original pedagogue.
John Szarkowski American Landscapes


Site Description 1. Climate
The following account of the recent climate of Mesa Verde is taken from the 41-year record (in part, shown in table one) of the U.S. Weather Bureau station near the Mesa Verde National Park headquarters, and from a discussion by Erdman (MS.)* The approximate location of the station is lat. 37 degrees 12'N. and long 108 degrees 29' W. Its position and elevation (7,070 feet) make it as representative of the Mesa Verde physiographic unit as possible. Since 1923, the average annual precipitation has been 18 inches. The late winter months constitute one of the "wet seasons", February being one of the wettest months of the year with almost 2 inches of moisture. Most of the moisture during this period occurs as snow. Winters seem to be relatively mild, perhaps because of the predominantly sunny days. January, the
coldest month, has a mean temperature of 29 degrees
Fahrenheit and 19 inches of snowfall. The coldest
temperature (-20 degrees Fahrenheit) occurred during the severe nationwide cold wave of January 1963. According to Trewartha (1954, p.181), in this climate "the winter season has many more large and steep-gradient cyclones and anticyclones than summer, so that the cooler seasons have more variable weather than the warmer periods of the year." This proved to be the case 1n our own observations: temperatures were more variable during the winter than during the
summer months.


Winter moisture is a critical factor as it determines the vegetational aspect of the landscape in late spring and early summer, typically the driest period of the growing season. Annuals and some perennials are highly dependent upon the surface moisture during these periods of low rainfall.
Although July is the hottest month of the year, with a mean temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit and a maximum of 102 degrees Fahrenheit, the heat is tempered by rains which normally begin about this time of year. Rainfall reaches its peak in August (average of 2 inches) and decreases gradually into the autumn. During the late summer months the days begin with cloudless skies, but by noon, because of intense air turbulence, cumulus clouds develop and thunderstorms are common. Precipitation is usually localized and intense for a short period of time. Consequently, runoff is high and the precipitation is not nearly so effective as winter and spring precipitation in controlling the growth of indigenous plants. (Erdman et al).
Soils
The Mesa Verde is composed of marine sediments of Upper Cretaceous Age. These rocks form a discrete geological unit, the Meas Verde Group whose members include the Cliff House Sandstone, the Menetree formation and the Point Lookout Formation. The sandstones overly the soft marine shales of the Mancos formation. Rock and gravel in the soil allows permeability to rainfall. The ridge-top site allows drainage


on three sides and thick vegetation assists in preventing erosion.
3. Vegetation
The site is in a p1non-juniper climax region which consists of relatively tall (up to 35 feet) and dense tree growth combined with sage and grass undergrowth. Pinon pine (Pinus edulis) and Utah juniper (Juniperus osteoperma) are the dominant trees. Rockey Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum) is common along the northern escarpment. To the immediate east of the site there is a stand of saltbush and semi arid vegetation.
4. Wildlife
Large mammals found in the park include the mule deer, bighorn sheep and mountain lion. Migrant black bear and
coyote have also been observed. A herd of elk has been
reported on numerous occasions. Birds which permanently nest 1n the park, or which frequent the park seasonally, number approximately 176 species. Mr. Bill Winkler, a long-time resident of Cortez who has hunted in the area reports deer migration across the site. Also seen are rabbits, chipmunks, reptiles.
5. Views
Located on a N-S ridge at 7130 feet, the site affords spectacular views to the west towards sleeping Ute Mountain and to the east towards the La Plata range and Mt. Hesperus. Anchoring the southern end of the ridge that the site straddles is Point Lookout, a prominent butte at 8427 feet. Anchoring the northern end is a rounded knoll at 7388 feet.


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I / ! VNATIOfiAL PAQK-
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COLORADO I PLATEAU
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Figure 1
The location of Mesa Verde National Park in the Colora Plateau Physiographic Province.




Roadside
"Park
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Program


Something true and clear, massively unsentimental, runs through all their works, and this is at bottom, the relationship between man and nature that they embody and reveal. In this they occupy a clear position in relation to the fundamental problem of human life: how to get along which means in the end how to live and diewith the natural world and its laws. It 1s the fundamental architectural question as well, because the environment inhabited by human beings is created partly by nature and partly by themselves. All human construction involves a relationship betweeen the natural and man-made. That relationship physically shapes the human cultural environment. In historical terms, the character of that relationship is a major indication of the character of a culture as a whole. It tells us how the human beings who made 1t thought of themselves in relation to the rest of creation. Are they, 1n their view, unique 1n the scheme of things, or have they no such conception? Do their buildings contrast with the forms of the earth or echo them?
Vincent Scully
Pueblo/Mountain, Village, Dance


Factors Influencing Interpretation (Summarized from Gibert Wenger)
Off-season use of the park is limited by weather and topography. Visitation warrants expansion of interpretive services in early fall and late spring. In the winter months interpretive opportunities are severely limited. Summer will remain the period of heaviest visitor use.
1. The number of visitors permitted on ranger-guided tours is limited for protection of the cliff dwellings and high quality interpretation.
2. The number of visitors is reduced by the location of the cliff dwellings 21 miles from U.S. Highway 160, the winding and mountainous character of the park entrance road, and the 16 mile distance from the campground to the cliff dwellings.
3. The capacity of the park transportation system limits the number of visitors to Wetherill Mesa and the round trip time limits the hours of operation.
4. The rugged topography limits visitor participation in good weather. In winter 95 percent of the ruins are closed.
5. Participation by older and handicapped visitors is limited by safety factors -- elevation, ladders, uneven steps, crawlways, and cliff edge height exposure.
6. With fuel problems, Mesa Verde is becoming more of a destination park and less of a one-day stopover on the way to somewhere else. The opening of Wetherill Mesa increase the visitor length of stay. More visitors are coming with the idea of experiencing all that Mesa Verde has to offer. In that Mesa Verde is now a World Heritage Cultural Park,


foreign visitation is expected to increase considerably.
The Park Visitor
a. Mesa Verde National Park is still primarily a day-use area. Most visitors spend less than 24 hours in the park. However, there is a growing trend toward longer visits. Campers and overnight concessioner guests are extending their stays in the park, especially since Wetherill Mesa was opened in 1973.
b. It is nearly impossible to see both Chapin and Wetherill Mesas in one day unless only one ruin 1s visited on each mesa.
c. In summer the "average" visitor spends approximately 7 hours in the park. In winter this drops to about 3 hours.
d. Many visitors do not know what to expect when they arrive in the park.
e. There is no through highway and driving time from the entrance to the ruins area is about 45 minutes. At least an hour is required to see any ruin on Chapin Mesa.
f. The opening of Wetherill Mesa made additional ruins available, but these may be visited only via the park transportation system. The average round trip for the Wetherill Mesa tour is 4 hours.
g. Park visitation has increased every year since 1953 except for 1973 (fuel shortage, economic slump) and 1979 (fuel shortage, inflation, and landslide on


the park entrance road)
h. In 1976 one-third of park visitors remained in the park overnight. Eighty-two percent of these stayed in the 496-site park campground. Fifteen percent stayed at park concessioner facilities with for 384 persons. The average stay at the lodge is two nights.
i. Protection and preservation of the ruins are the most important factors influencing interpretation at Mesa Verde. Visitors may not move around freely and use the area as they wish.
j. The average visitor participates in six interpreti\e activities. The museum is being used at 125 percent of the rated capacity; 25 percent of park visitors attend evening programs.
k. The largest percentage of park visitors are family groups on summer vacation.
l. The first thing most visitors want to do is see a cliff dwelling; all other features are secondary.
Visitor Projection by Month (1981 Annual Use Reports)
m.
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
TOTAL
3402
1808
3200
13,004
65226
108300
141882
130318
77006
35166
7378
2816
589506


Average Daily and Hourly Visitation During Peak Summer Period (July).
Average Dally July Visitation Average Hourly July Visitation (8 hrs.) Average Hourly Parking Needs (3.7/car)
4728
590
159.4


Program Summary (Area Calculations in Square Feet)
Archaeologic Research Facility
Cataloging 288
Collections Research 384
Conservation Lab 462
Data Processing 300
Deliveries 592
Fumigation 216
Lounge 264
Maintenance/Mech. 808
Offices 800
Permanent Storage 5844
Photo Lab/Studio 96
Receiving 969
Reception/Circulation 838
Records Management 560
Staff Restrooms 216
Supply Storage 370
Temporary Storage 375
Subtotal 13462
Visitors Center
Auditorium 1256
Conference 294
Exhibit 3688
Library 2115
Lobby 1368
Mechanical 400
Public Restrooms 540
Public Sales and Storage 288
Subtotal 9949
Total 23411


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