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Chaco Canyon


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Chaco Canyon Glenn Murcutt Studio Project - Planning, Preservation, and Interpretation Strategies

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Chaco Canyon

  1. 1. WORLD HERITAGE SITES PRECEDENT STUDIES Giza Plateau Site Management Analysis Alexandria Alexandria Alexandria Cairo Cairo Cairo CHACO CANYON ORIENTATION CENTER 5 Chaco Canyon, New Mexico Program Anasazi world, a journey existing dirt roads around through time that would reveal Chaco Canyon depends on the Fayoum Fayoum Fayoum Chaco Canyon was the heart the essential elements of the interplay of many agencies I. Prior Condition II. Overall Access III. Visitor experience + Excavation of Anasazi Culture between Anasazi belief systems, a such as the Bureau of Land Access to monuments via internal road system Conservation Zone established within World Un-authentic structures removed 850 and 1250 AD. As a center sequence of experiences that Management, Navajo Nation, Most visitors stay for 90 minutes with stops at the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid Heritage Site Internal road system replaced by one-way Educational/conservational structures built Further excavation within Conservation Zone for trade and ceremony, Chaco would make the visitors aware and the National Park Service. Lack of visitor management and education leads to on-site damage perimeter access road Parking located at three new reception centers GIS mapping for site assessment Staff training to provide knowledgable is remarkable for its distinctive of the elements of Chaco Taking into consideration the Pyramids closed sequentially for maintenance New sites opened to distribute visitors over the personnel whole site Critic: Glenn Murcutt cosmologically planned Culture. many factors involved in Entrance fee charged to decrease foot traffic and fund maintenance architecture and road system. Chaco's planning, a sequence Conservation zone Educational/conservation structures From our talks with the Park of phases is proposed. Internal road system Pyramid complexes In 1907, Chaco Canyon Superintendent, we learned Reception Centers Unauthentic structures National Monument was that the greatest issue facing The heart of the plan lies in the created to preserve the largest Chaco is infrastructure. first two phases. These phases Ninstints Approach collection of prehistoric Currently, the infrastructure of are designed to connect the archaeological sites in the the park detracts from the journey to the Chaco United States. Today the interpretive potential of Chaco. experience, systematically canyon remains a significant The Chaco Plan Comparison preserve archaeological sites, sacred site to many Southwest (pg 3) shows how a proposed remove obstructions that Indian Cultures such as the plan would improve and detract from the visitor's Hopi and Navajo. change the present condition experience, and foster of Chaco. The Site vehicular movement along the Unfortunately, the Chacoan Management Plan components periphery of the site. The last ruins face great danger from are then further detailed (pg 4). two phases work to enhance I. Journey to Sacred Haida Site II. Overall Access III. Visitor experience + Excavation The journey to the Haida settlement is part of Advance reservations with Haida guardians The isolation of the site, and necessity of exposure to the elements and the visitor's experience by the Ninstints experience must be made before visiting site arriving by sea as its original inhabitants did, Access to site via kayak at high tide makes a profound impression on visitors tourist impacts (e.g., ruins The execution of the proposed offering more options to hikers Guided tours of site given by Haida guardians 1995 Parks Canada/Haida team excavated and straightened 4 totem poles desecration, artifact Site Management Plan and distributing the impact of No visitor centers or signs on the island Motorized vehicular access is prohibited scavenging). The interest in depends on many factors. For visitors around the site more Approach uncovering, excavating, and example, the issue of reuse of evenly. Ninstints site and totem poles accessing the ruins has paradoxically accelerated their deterioration. The focus of this studio project is the design of a strategic plan and orientation center that address the present critical interpretation and preservation issues facing Chaco Canyon. In order to develop an orientation center for Chaco, other World Heritage sites such as the Pyramids of Giza and the Haida settlement of Ninstints were analyzed as relevant precedents. The objective of these precedent analyses was to learn how an interpretive center could tell the story of a site. The interpretive strategy envisioned for Chaco is a transition from our world to the 1
  2. 2. CHACO PARK PLANNING CHACO PARK PLANNING PLAN ANALYSIS SITE MANAGEMENT PLAN PRESENT PLAN NATIONAL PARK SERVICE PROGRAM 0 1 MILE The goal of the National Park Service (NPS) is to manage the preservation and Farmington interpretation of the Chaco Culture National Park. The interpretive strategy proposed is a journey that would reveal the Anasazi belief system; a sequence of experiences that would make the visitors aware of the key elements of Chaco culture. The program of the NPS is arranged to support the interpretive strategy. A conservation zone is defined by a new loop road. All unauthentic modern structures such as housing, maintenance facilities, and visitor center are moved to the exterior of this zone. The visitor center is located along original Chacoan road passing through South Gap thereby integrating the journey to the Chaco experience. The campground is re-located to a discreet site past the visitor center along the loop road to ensure all campers register before camping. A landscape system is established to preserve archaeological sites. Modular preservation mounds cover unexcavated sites and allow for future piecemeal excavation. Camping Visitor Center / Gate Housing Preservation Mound Maintenance Sheds HIKING TRAIL SYSTEM The goal of the proposed hiking trail system is to enhance visitors' experiences and to distribute visitors more evenly over the park. All shuttle bus revenue goes toward the maintenance of the park. To enhance visitor's appreciation of Chaco sites, the trails are designed to reveal the logic of Anasazi alignments and building siting. The trail system is integrated with the park loop road and shuttle bus system to enhance visitor's experiences by offering more options for trails; one way or round trip journeys, sunset experiences within the park, and access to remote areas of the park. Thoreau Two types of trails are proposed: (a) circuit trails are localized trails, shorter in distance, that focus on particular aspects of the park, (b) traverse trails are choreographed to reveal the drama of the journey through Chaco Canyon. North South Access Road Internal Loop Road Visitor Center Circuit Trails Traverse Trails Camping Housing Maintenance Sheds I. Vehicular Traffic Routes II. Unauthentic Structures III. Inhabitation VEHICULAR TRAFFIC ROUTES Access to loop road is neither gated nor monitored. Subsequent lack of visitor Unauthentic structures (such as bathrooms and the visitor center), and signage Camping and housing structures located in front of visitor center along the The vehicular traffic infrastructure addresses issues concerning control, management and education leads to on-site damage. Access to monuments via within park obstruct Anasazi alignments. northern entry detract from the grandeur of the world heritage site. Campers entry, access, and maintenance. Three types of roads are articulated: paved internal road system has no relationship to Chacoan inter-building may camp without proper registration. north south access route, perimeter loop road, and maintenance roads. alignments. Visitors drive through the canyon past most other archeological sites to get to main attraction, Pueblo Bonito. Car routes and parking next to The north south access route connects Chaco National Park to the outside sensitive archaeological sites detract from the Chaco experience. world. Fajada Butte serves as the entrance beacon for Chaco Canyon along the route. The North South access road is routed east of Fajada Butte to maintain distance from the Una Vida site. PROPOSED PLAN The internal road system is replaced by a perimeter loop road approximately 25 miles in length which first directs all visitors through the gate / visitor center. The loop road incorporates many existing dirt roads through Chaco 0 1 MILE Canyon. All parking is located outside the internal loop road Farmington Maintenance roads provide access for maintenance and archaeological work and also act as alignment foot paths Farmington North South Access Roads Fajada Butte Two Way Perimeter Road Visitor Center / Gate One Way Perimeter Road Pueblo Benasco Stop Thoreau Pueblo Alto Stop Maintenance Road / Anasazi Road Systems Una Vida Stop B. C. D. A. INTEGRATED SITE MANAGEMENT PLAN The implementation of the site management plan works to preserve Historic Chaco Culture Sites and provide for their interpretation. The overlay of National Park Service program, hiking trail system, and vehicular traffic infrastructure is designed to enhance visitor experience and understanding of the site. North South Access Roads Fajada Butte Two Way Perimeter Road Visitor Center / Gate One Way Perimeter Road Pueblo Benasco Stop Pueblo Alto Stop Maintenance Road / Anasazi Road Systems Una Vida Stop Camping Preservation Mound Thoreau Housing Traverse Trails Maintenance Sheds Circuit Trails I. Perimeter Access Road / Internal Conservation Zone II. New Hiking Modes Pueblo Benasco Stop North South Access Road The site strategy proposed for Chaco is similar to the strategy currently Circuit and traverse trails coupled to the proposed shuttle bus system offer new Pueblo Alto Stop Two Way Perimeter Road deployed at the Pyramids of Giza. Limiting vehicular access to the ways to use Chaco Culture Park. Una Vida Stop One Way Perimeter Road periphery allows for: the establishment of a controlled internal conservation zone, more authentic experiences with the ancient ruins A. Hike circuit trail from visitor center Camping Maintenance Roads for the visitors, and different hiking experiences for visitors. B. Drive to bus stop and hike circuit trail Housing Visitor Center C. Hike from visitor center to bus stop D. Hike from bus stop to bus stop 3 4
  3. 3. CHACO PARK PLANNING TRANSFORMATION 2002 P I H Farmington A S E The goals of this phase are to systematically preserve and Thoreau protect archaeological sites and enhance visitor experience II through landscape modification. I Earthwork preservation mounds Maintenance roads / alignment paths Excavation at proposed visitor center site 2005 P H Farmington III Great Houses A Indian Ruins Summer solstice sunset Summer solstice sunrise Geographical Landmarks Anasazi Road System S Building to Building Winter solstice sunset Winter solstice sunrise Building to Geographical Landmark E Thoreau The new visitor center is constructed after careful excavation and survey of its site. All unauthentic structures within the park are removed to enhance visitor experience. II New South Gap visitor center I. ANASAZI ROAD SYSTEM II. BUILDING TO GEOGRAPHICAL LANDMARK III. SOLSTICE DIAGRAM Removal of old visitor center BUILDING TO BUILDING Removal of paved roads and parking lots P 2010 PHASE I: LANDSCAPE + PRESERVATION OVERVIEW H Farmington The main objective of this macroscopic scale, Pueblo Chaco impedes the visitor's axis alignments at Tsin Kletsin, A phase is to design the Bonito is aligned to Pueblo Alto holistic understanding of Chaco. Pueblo Alto) at various ruins, landscape of Chaco to present and Tsin Kletsin along its For example, obtrusive parking the visitor learns how the S the ruins as part of an cardinal north-south axis. lots, signage, and roads ruins are interconnected to interconnected web of sites The ancient North Road that interfere with Chaco other buildings and instead of isolated objects in connects Chaco to Aztec Ruins alignments. geographical landmarks. E the landscape. 65 miles north of the site runs Thoreau straight along this axis from By changing the design of The first part of this phase The goal of this phase is to distribute the impacts of visitors throughout the site by offering different types of hikes through The Anasazi designed their Pueblo Alto. At the microscopic Chaco's infrastructure, the connects ruins to each other III the canyon. Shuttle bus on existing dirt road between buildings to connect to their scale, a kiva and ridge of visitor can understand how the via dirt maintenance roads. new visitor center and Pueblo Alto stop cosmos and natural narrow rooms within Pueblo ruins connect to their This allows the Park service to surroundings in various ways: Bonito's plaza are aligned to landscape and other ruins. periodically maintain sites and P 2015 siting, materials, form, and the north-south axis. At the Secondly, by adding pertinent visitors to walk from ruin to alignment. An 'alignment' was midpoint of everyday, the sun infrastructure for interpretation, ruin. Currently, there are no made when a building is placed is directly in line with Pueblo the visitor can develop a new direct footpaths between ruins. H on axis with a geographical Bonito's kiva and ridge, the understanding of Chaco. For The proposed paths would be Farmington landmark, road, celestial event North Road, and the ruins instance, instead of walking by created just as the ancient A (i.e., solstice sunrise location (Pueblo Bonito, Pueblo Alto, 'holes in the ground' (kivas) roads were established. A on horizon), or another building. and Tsin Kletsin). The logic of within building sites, a visitor simple turning of soil and its S The diagram above shows a Anasazi alignments is can understand that the aligned resulting change in soil map of Chaco overlaid with a remarkably consistent at both kivas define the building's content would change/inhibit E map of Anasazi alignments. large and small scales and relationship to cosmological the surface vegetation, thus underlies Anasazi planning and events and to other buildings in marking the pathway. Thoreau At crucial ruins such as Pueblo architecture. the canyon. Finally, by The goal of this phase is to offer opportunities to hike to remote scenic areas and archaeological sites of Chaco Bonito, there are multiple experiencing similar kiva IV canyon. overlapping alignments. At the Currently, the infrastructure of alignments (i.e., north-south New seasonal dirt road between new visitor center and Pueblo Benasco stop 5 6
  4. 4. PHASE I: LANDSCAPE + PRESERVATION KIVA PATHWAYS Once at a ruin, a simple wooden plank pathway encourages visitors to visit ruins without stepping on fragile walls. The pathway strategy developed for Chaco ruins highlights the Anasazi's cosmological alignments and relationships by positioning platforms in line with kiva alignments. These places of rest are connected by wooden plank paths. As mentioned before, kiva alignments are important because they are aligned to the solar and lunar events which serve as the basis of all Anasazi site planning. The sketches (below left) show how different sites such as Chetro Ketl, Pueblo Arroyo, and Una Vida share cosmological characteristics that are unique to Chaco architecture; kivas are aligned to celestial events (i.e., winter solstice sunrise). A prototypical pathway for Pueblo Bonito highlighting solstice, cardinal, equinox, and lunar events is proposed (below right). Path Cardinal Platform Lunar Minor Platform Lunar Major Platform Solstice Platform 7 8
  5. 5. A PHASE I: LANDSCAPE + PRESERVATION PRESERVATION MOUNDS Visitors of Chaco ruins are often unaware of the extent of archaeological remains and artifacts. The ruins which are visible and visited comprise only A' a fraction of the archaeological record. In fact, a trove of valuable archaeological information lies beneath the ground that the visitors walk on. The series of sections of Pueblo Bonito on the right details former and proposed modes of land use around the ruins. PRE-EXCAVATION: 1890 Prior to 1900's, the trash middens located south of Pueblo Bonito contained thousands of artifacts. During the 1920's, archaeologist Neil Judd excavated trenches through these middens in search of artifacts to piece together a picture of the culture that once occupied Chaco. JUDD EXCAVATION: 1920 In its current condition, thousands of visitors unknowingly walk over the middens. Pueblo Bonito stands as an isolated object in the landscape surrounded by encroaching car parking and roads. In Phase I of the Site Mangement Plan, landscaped CURRENT CONDITION: 2002 mounds form archaeological caps that protect sensitive archaeological sites from damage until future excavation. While integrating the observable ruins with the landscape, the mounds also signify the extent of the unseen ruins beneath the ground. During Phase IV, temporary PHASE I: 2005 excavation structures provide protection for archaeological trenches. These on-site excavations serve to educate visitors on the importance and process of archaeological research at Chaco Canyon. PHASE IV: 2015 9 10
  6. 6. PHASE I: LANDSCAPE + PRESERVATION PROGRAMMED LANDSCAPE To avoid the objectification of the ruins, National Park Service program such as shade, rest, boundary, access, and preservation are embedded in the landscape. Conceptual models and sketches (below) show how the land might be formed to accept the program. A prototypical modular preservation/excavation system for Pueblo Bonito is shown in the lower right diagram. The landscaped mounds covering sensitive archaeological sites around Pueblo Bonito are divided into sections to allow for future piecemeal excavation. The model on the right shows how the maintenance roads, ruins pathway, and modular preservation/excavation system are all integrated. PB5 PB6 PB11 PB7 PB8 PB9 PB10 PB12 PB13 PB14 PB15 PB16 PB17 PB1 PB4 PB2 Boundary Maintenance Roads Elevated Path PB1 Modular archaeological cap Shade/Rest Area Temporary excavation structure 11 12
  7. 7. VIII VII VI VIII VII VI V V IV IV PHASE II: VISITOR CENTER OVERVIEW III The new visitor center is sited vehicular access to the canyon road, a path leads visitors to These rooms are the interface III over one of many previously lacks the original ancient power the visitor center. Passing the between visitors and Chaco unexcavated Anasazi ruin of entry. The proposed new visitor center desk, and park staff. They are used for along the ancient Chacoan visitor center seeks to courtyard of occupiable artifact display and films. road running through South reconnect the journey to the skylights which frame the view Because the interpretive rooms Gap s. Since we do not Chaco experience by having of the visitors' destination are interconnected to the II know the exact configuration of people walk along the original (above), the path descends archives and library, changes the ruins because they are Chacoan roads to enter the into a large shed covering the in temporary exhibits, and II unexcavated, Pueblo Arroyo canyon. In ancient times, the excavation site. Within the visitors' library use are was used as an example in this Anasazi would walk many days excavation site, a suspended facilitated. project to show the general and nights to get to Chaco kiva pathway orients the visitor approach of developing a new Canyon. Traveling from the to the cosmological basis of The excavation shed only visitor center. south, the Anasazi would enter Anasazi ruins. The hovering partially covers the ruins Chaco Canyon between two nature of the pathway, beneath. Preservation mounds, In siting the visitor center over mesas. These mesas introduces the visitor to a way (like those initiated in Phase I a previously unexcavated ruin, dramatically frame the entry of respecting and learning from at Great House sites the new visitor center sequence to the canyon. Site Anasazi sites without throughout the canyon) cover incorporates a working photos (far right) shows the damaging fragile walls. When the remainder of the ruins. By excavation site as part of its entry sequence to the canyon the visitor later walks around experiencing the excavated I education and exhibition through South Gap from the other sites, it is hoped that this ruins, and seeing the program. By incorporating the new visitor center to Pueblo reverence and sacred feeling preservation mounds excavation aspect to the park, Arroyo. for the ruins continues. simultaneously, (pg 17-18) the visitors are actively engaged visitor learns to recognize the with the preservation aspect of The visitor center is organized As people continue along the extent of ruins throughout the National Park Service. around a journey through time. kiva pathway, they can stop at Chaco Canyon when visiting Currently, the entry and From the parking area by the interpretive rooms (pg 16). other sites. 13 14
  8. 8. PHASE II: VISITOR CENTER PLANS Light is used in the visitor center to highlight the unique cosmological nature of Anasazi alignments. Skylights over the excavation site are designed to be activated for specific solar events, (i.e., winter and summer solstice, equinox, midday). For example, at the midpoint of every day, two shafts of light are aligned to the north-south kivas. On the roof of the excavation site, the skylights are occupiable and shaped to differentiate multiple types of alignments. 15 16
  10. 10. PHASE II: VISITOR CENTER SYSTEMS The design of the visitor center's MODES OF OPERATION systems seeks to incorporate SUMMER the Anasazi culture's awareness of their natural surroundings. Summer Morning Occupants using this building Vertical louvers along eastern windows block morning sun to will harness the potential of the prevent unwanted solar gain. sun and wind to create a comfortable internal environment. The main components of the Summer Midday proposed system (below left) Cool air from excavation space used to displacement ventilate are insulated thermal mass, office space. Clerestory windows opened to allow hot air sliding insulative panels, to vent. Sunlight reflected and diffused into office spaces. Roof vented through air space to operable vents and windows, minimize radiative heat gains. solar water collectors, louvers, funnel shaped roof, and plenum, (excavation area). Due to the Summer Afternoon extreme nature of Chaco's Vertical louvers along western windows block afternoon sun climate, the proposed system to prevent unwanted solar gain. has multiple configurations and allows for maximum adaptability. The insulated thermal mass provides a thermal buffer to Summer Night extreme external temperatures. Excavation plenum and roof thermal mass cooled by cold Sliding insulative panels night air. embedded in the walls prevent unwanted irradiative on cold nights. Light shelves provide diffuse lighting for office spaces. External louvers provide shading at certain times of day. Funnel shaped roofs facilitate WINTER natural ventilation and venting Winter Morning of hot roof surfaces. Solar water Sun penetrates through eastern collectors provide an efficient windows and pre-warms thermal mass in offices for source of heat. The excavation morning use. area is used as a plenum to Solar Water Collectors Insulation provide pre-conditioned air for both the summer and winter Ventable Roof Funnel seasons. Thermal Mass Winter Midday Light Shelf Solar gains through clerestory There are multiple modes of Glazed Operable Window windows capture heat. Roof not vented through air space in operation for these systems Vertical Louvers order to maximize radiative heat gains.The ground-warmed (far right) according to the Sliding Insulative Panel excavation air is introduced to heat exchanger to condition intake air. Sunlight reflected external climatic conditions. and diffused into office spaces. Winter Afternoon Sun penetrates through western windows and heats up thermal mass in offices. Plenum Winter Night Insulative panels cover windows to prevent unwanted irradiative heat loss. 19 20