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Grand Canyon National Park–Lookout Studio

Grand Canyon Village, Arizona 86023
Lookout Studio webpage
Grand Canyon National Park website
Grand Canyon National Park maps

Also, see Grand Canyon National Park

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Coconino County

Grand Canyon NP–Lookout Studio
Coordinates: 36.0577859, -112.1414182
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About Lookout Studio
Lookout Studio (1914) was designed as a location where visitors could photograph the Grand Canyon from its precipitous edge and use the telescopes to observe the natural beauty the canyon offered. Built on a precipice west of El Tovar, “The Lookout” offered a neat, comfortable rustic studio of stone and log timbers.

Colter designed the exterior stonework to convey an indigenous American Indian structure, similar to the ruins of the Ancestral Puebloan dwellings found in the region. Here, she allowed the edge of the canyon and the natural rock outcroppings give form to her multi-level structure that grew out of the edge of the rim.

Inspired by the natural forms of the landscape around the site, the parapet rooflines and stone chimneys mimicked the irregular shapes of surrounding bedrock. The interior of the building is divided into several levels, with structural logwork exposed in posts, beams, and ceiling joists. The floor is scored concrete and the 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 of Colter’s other buildings.

A black and white photo of the Lookout Studio. Lookout Studio in 1914.

When designing Lookout Studio, Colter allowed the surrounding landscape to guide her design. The native stone structure, originally known as “the Lookout,” is built into the canyon rim and, in a sense, looks as if it grows out of it. 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 jigsaw-patterned railing. Low stone walls lead up to the building, protecting visitors from drop offs into the canyon.

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 Lookout Studio webpage

Tips for birding Grand Canyon National Park
From Grand Canyon National Park website

About Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon is considered one of the finest examples of arid-land erosion in the world. Incised by the Colorado River, the canyon is immense, averaging 4,000 feet deep for its entire 277 miles. It is 6,000 feet deep at its deepest point and 18 miles at its widest. However, the significance of Grand Canyon is not limited to its geology.

The Park contains several major ecosystems. Its great biological diversity can be attributed to the presence of five of the seven life zones and three of the four desert types in North America.

The five life zones represented are the Lower Sonoran, Upper Sonoran, Transition, Canadian, and Hudsonian. This is equivalent to traveling from Mexico to Canada.

The Park also serves as an ecological refuge, with relatively undisturbed remnants of dwindling ecosystems (such as boreal forest and desert riparian communities). It is home to numerous rare, endemic (found only at Grand Canyon), and specially protected (threatened or endangered) plant and animal species.

Over 1,500 plant, 355 bird, 89 mammalian, 47 reptile, 9 amphibian, and 17 fish species are found in park.
From Grand Canyon National Park website