The most notable characteristic of the Great Salt Flats is the incredible expanse of level, uninterrupted space, with just the mountains far in the distance creating a sense of a faint boundary. This expansiveness is exaggerated when the water table rises and its reflectivity doubles the space. However, this experience is tainted for most people by the speed and enclosure of the vehicle they’re traveling in along the interstate . This rest stop design uses built components to accent the already astounding natural characteristics of the site, removing visitors from the landscape in order to reset their perception of the salt flats and re-expose them in a way that heightens their awareness of their surroundings.
To emphasize to visitors the vastness of the flats, they gradually enter a constrained space and then are exposed to the landscape. The final view of the salt flats will be punctuated by a path of pavers extending into the distance. This provides scale and perspective to the expansiveness while inviting visitors to follow it into the flats and be completely immersed in the landscape. The pavers will also provide an elevated surface for visitors when the water table rises, with their varying height from the ground creating opportunities for seating and pools to form. To play on the naturally occurring mirror condition of the flood water, the built forms will be clad in reflective glass, echoing the surroundings and effectually minimizing their visual impact, allowing the landscape to be the focus.
Status: School Project
Location: Great Salt Flats, UT