Casa Grande


The Casa Grande Ruins were constructed in somewhere between AD 1200-1450 by the Hohokam Phoenix, Arizona, and represent a great collision in modernity and tradition. One of the most apparent restoration efforts was made in 1903 when S. J. Holsinger designed a covering for the ruins. The cover was a large galvanized, corrugated iron roof with a six foot overhang supported by 10″X10″ redwood posts embedded into the ground (middle image). The entire structure was then anchored to the ground by cables attached to each corner of the structure. In 1932 Congress appropriated funds to construct a new shelter over the ruins to protect them. The old iron roof, painted red to protect it, had deteriorated severely. In 1928, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. who was acting as an adviser to the National Park Service, sketched a design for a new roof. “The thought at the time, however, was that a design competition should be held for the roof.” In 1932 the final Olmsted Jr. design (top image) was realized. The hip roof supported by leaning posts was consistent with Olmsted’s design and the tensile roof structure incorporated glass skylights. Completed on December 12, 1932, the structure stands forty-six feet from the ground to the eaves and was painted sage green to harmonize with the mountains and vegetation as well as provide contrast to the ruin. Images courtesy of the National Park Service.

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