A sense of place

"Oh, it's perfect." 

That's what I said when we pulled up to the Grand Teton Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose, Wyoming.

Having just driven through an alpine valley presided over by the most starkly beautiful mountains I had ever seen, the Teton Range, I was not expecting to be wowed by a building. But, I was.

Grand Teton Mountains

The Teton Range, Photo by Jairph 

The visitor center, designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, fits. With its jagged, upturned roofline and tall asymmetrical windows, it's right for this dramatic landscape. And, it's perfectly suited to its purpose, introducing us to the wonders of the Teton Mountains. 

Grand Teton Visitor's Center
Craig Thomas visitor center in Grand Teton National Park at Moose, Wyoming, USA, Photo by Acroterion

How do we capture the sense of a place in design - be it architecture or interior design?

We must forget for a moment about materials, plans, and even people. We must absorb the essence of the place. Then, we must work to give form to that essence.

(More photos, sketches, and plans here:

She didn't know it, but Jackie Lopey's days as an advertising executive were numbered when she bought and renovated a 1950's bungalow. She soon went back to school and started her own design studio. Jackie is an award-winning, certified interior designer and the founder of Wide Canvas.

Connect with Jackie by emailing

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