Lawrence Scarpa Breaks Down His Inspiration for the Southern Utah Museum of Art

The Southern Utah Museum of Art. Photography by Timothy Hursley.

"I had never been to Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park before being hired to design the Southern Utah Museum of Art in Cedar City, and the slot canyons were pretty stunning. The way you get in and out of the parks, in fact, is through the canyons, and they reminded me of my design process. A bit like water that seeks its own path, eroding the stone, I start with a general idea, not really knowing where it’s going to take me. In an early sketch I did for the museum, I was thinking again about those canyons, considering how the river shapes them. The roof of the museum is sloped to collect snowmelt and storm-water runoff. Then all the water flows out, as if it were running through a canyon.

A sketch of Scarpa's plans for the museum. Image by Lawrence Scarpa. 

This sketch is in pen on tracing paper, which I use often. I draw every day and all the time, and I embrace digital technology, too, usually a stylus on a Wacom tablet. Or I’ll sketch on top of a 3-D model, take a screenshot, and e-mail it as a tool to communicate ideas with the staff at my firm, Brooks + Scarpa." —Lawrence Scarpa

The Southern Utah Museum of Art. Photography by Timothy Hursley.
Lawrence Scarpa. Photography courtesy of Brooks + Scarpa.

> See more from the August 2017 issue of Interior Design

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