Historical Preservation Studio – Graduate Level – Fall 2008
Instructor: Elizabeth Louden, Ph.D
The “Mashed ‘O’ Ranch” was an integral part of the historic XIT ranch, which in its heyday was one of the largest fenced ranches in the United States, covering about three million acres in northwest Texas. The proposed program for the site is a historic park, where the public can visit and learn about the culture of early ranching pioneers. The two new structures proposed in this project are a park ranger’s station with an attached residence, and a visitor’s center.
Since the site is vast ranch land and pastures, a very dominant feature to the landscape is the uninterrupted view to the horizon. The new structures capture the horizon line, and allow it to flow through them by a slit in the stone masonry walls. In this way the horizon line is literally framed and brought into focus as if a physical element of the structure. Water flows from the slits in different areas of the walls, and collects in pools. Water collection not only serves a practical purpose for sustainability, but it also represents a renewal of life to the site.