of the Desert
A new community has
been planned where the fingers of the Great Basin overlap the edge of
the Mojave Desert. “Colonization” will transform the desert
landscape and climate. What is now ragged brush and cactus will become
an entire new town with a stark midday view of creosote brush and endless
blue sky, with dramatic sunrises and sunsets highlighting the strata of
the fault blocks and sandstone outcroppings of the nearby mountains.
The information center and administrative office of Ship of the Desert
houses a theater/ meeting room, an exhibit area, and staff and public
spaces. It is a sail, a tent that flutters in the breeze; its stone promenade
deck is illuminated by fire. It serves as a visual focus and creates a
desert preserve and gateway facility. Above entry level the building becomes
increasingly ceremonial and less earthbound. From the reception desk visitors
are directed upward into the red sandstone wedge, where images of the
future are juxtaposed against glimpses of the present landscape.
Atop the wedge, and again from the observation platform at the peak of
the sail, the full panorama of the desert is revealed. The teflon-coated
fiberglass sail and the mill-finished stainless-steel prow rise from the
red sandstone base and merge technology with the materials of the desert.
Passage from automobile to the information center initiates a journey.
Setting into its substrate, lodged in the bottom of an arroyo, Ship of
the Desert is returning home again.