Lookout Los Alamos
Situated at the intersection of the Bandelier National Monument ruins, the Jemez Mountain Range’s Valles Caldera, and the Los Alamos National Laboratories, the site for this theoretical tower is at the unique intersection of at least 11,000 years of our manipulation of the land, as well as residing within an active and significant geological history in the region. The tower serves the functional purpose of fire lookout as well as both monument and watchtower, bearing witness to the thousands of people who carved out agriculture in the canyons straddling the walls for shelter, the decades of fire suppression turned to controlled burns made uncontrollable by our own lack of understanding, and the rise of the atom bomb. The tower is on the one hand delicate, constructed of light weight steel and sheet steel, only offering enclosure at the apex 100 feet in the air. On the other, it is heavily anchored to the ground with a foundation/cistern that collects rainwater to serve the lookout resident. The singular feature of the tower is on the south face – a mirrored glass façade transforms the tower from the vernacular steel kit of parts into a subtle mirage of gradually tilting reflective planes. The intention for the façade is to make the tower a disappearing monolith that can reflect its surroundings and invite viewers and visitors to investigate and acknowledge the history of the place.
Mirror Facade, left - Access Facade, Right
Lookout Los Alamos Context
Mirror Facade/Monument References - Forest Fires (upper and lower left), Bandelier Culture (upper right, Los Alamos Labs Products (lower right)