Sleeping Cowboys by Claudia Brennan

Architects often favor incongruity with the surrounding environment in order to imbue their work with gravitas. However sometimes it is the ability of a structure to seamlessly insert itself into the landscape that creates a larger impact. The lines dividing the desert and the concrete are blurred in the construction of the Amangiri resort in Canyon Point Utah. Blurred to the degree that from afar, the structure is imperceptible, fading into the Entrada Sandstone that is the hallmark of the region.

| Amangiri resort in Canyon Point Utah, 2012, image by Claudia Brennan |

Three Arizonan architects, Marwan Al-Sayed, Wendell Burnette and Rick Joy collaborated on the project, choosing a 78,400 square foot expanse of raw desert and monolithic rock mesas to insert what Burnette referred to as their “block of cast earth – a sort of massive ruin eroded by the climate”. The consistency of the structure with the desert is so exact to the degree that the very makeup of the resort mirrors its surrounds, with its construction out a blend of concrete that utilized local sand to approximate the hue of the rock formations that function as the resort’s neighbours.

| Amangiri resort in Canyon Point Utah, 2012, image by Claudia Brennan |

The minimalism of the architecture is strangely not even incongruous with Southwestern lore, with the sandstone plinths upon which each bed lies positioned so that the sleeper is level with the landscape, to capture the “perspective of a cowboy sleeping on the ground”, said Joy. Amangiri ultimately proves the notion that softening the divisiveness of the ecotone carries greater power than a transplant of opulence into the rawness of untouched stretches of land.

Claudia Brennan

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