Structures of Landscape

Débora Mesa Molina

Country of the project

United States

Laureate status


Located north of Yellowstone Park, Tippet Rise Art Center with an extension of 10,260 acres of grazing land is born as a destination where visitors experience nature through art (or maybe art through nature), and where local fauna and ranching activity can coexist with artistic and architectural interventions. Tippet Rise celebrates the concept that art, music, architecture, and nature are inextricably linked in the human experience, each making the others more powerful.

With its infinite extension of rolling hills against the backdrop of the Beartooth Mountains, Tippet Rise site, resembles a lunar landscape. How to incorporate in such a unique setting an architecture that incarnates its spirit? To start designing we tried to set aside our urban
thinking, to move away from ubiquitous urbanization and develop new tools, methods and languages that could help us design following the rules of the land, reading constellations instead of grids and molding land instead of consuming it.

In lieu of a single building we fragment the program into a series of rooms that give shelter to the center’s activities across its vast territory, unfolding a new network of programs among the plateaus, ridges, canyons and hills of sublime beauty that make the site. We call these rooms Structures of Landscape because of their intimate relation with the land and the way they mold it to create habitable space. It is because of wilderness—of weather and life at Tippet Rise—that the project is conceived as raw architecture: robust, earthy and rough; while also expressive and acoustically precise.

Our masterplan for the site included a variable number of these Structures, to be built over time enabling the organic growth of the project. Between October 2015 and April 2016, three of them were built: Beartooth Portal, Inverted Portal and Domo. These architectures, together with a series of art works by Alexander Calder, Mark Di Suvero, Stephen Talasnik and Patrick Doherty, opened Tippet Rise Art Center for the first time in June of 2016. Maybe others will happen in the future. The project, as nature, is alive.

Structures of Landscape build landscapes within landscapes and enable habitation without exploitation. They resonate with the immensity, roughness and solitude of the place amplifying its values, encouraging interaction between people and the environment; and situate our actions in an ambiguous position between nature, architecture and art, transcending unimaginative categorizations.