MCA is excited to be back in the field with our team at FEA. The first stop is The Painted Desert Community at Petrified Forest National Park. MCA’s Merrill Messick will be assessing and programming buildings designed in 1958 by Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander. These structures serve as the park’s headquarters, which contain administrative offices, maintenance facilities, visitor and resident services, and employee housing. The buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 2016 were named a National Landmark.
Richard Neutra, considered among the most important modernist architects, was hired by the National Park Service (NPS) to help usher in Mission 66, a new program meant to enhance visitor services and infrastructure at park sites. Mission 66 was an agency-wide building effort to help parks handle increased visitor numbers in 1966. The revitalization of the visitor center concept came from Mission 66. The Painted Desert Community Complex was one of the agency’s most ambitious Mission 66 visitor centers!