written by:
October 18, 2012

Locals headed for a trek on the Lands End trail are stumbling upon the newest marvel within Golden Gate National Park while Bay Area architects and conservationists have eagerly anticipated its recent opening. The Lands End Lookout and visitor’s center, perched 100 feet above the ruins of the historic Sutro baths, is drawing in spectators seeking to see the natural setting from a fresh and modernist perspective.

Nestled along the shoreline and offering a panoramic, 30-mile vantage of the rugged coastline, the building by Phoebe Schenker of the green design firm EHDD melds the best of low slung modernism with highbrow reductionism.

Flawlessly cool and understated, the wood trim and mid-century inspired fixtures, floor to ceiling glass, and pale gray concrete walls achieve a sublime solution to the natural revitalization and enhancement of Lands End—an ongoing effort by benefactors working along with the Park Conservancy. Careful attention has been paid to blending in with the use of materials, which should age gracefully and complement with the restored landscape.
1 / 9
The slab walls and angular partitions frame, rather than distract, from the spectacularly serene marine setting—squawking seabirds overhead, joggers and hikers lounging around, churning water rising up and slapping the cliffs. And now, firmly established, the Lands End Lookout, quietly makes its debut as a beachy clean landmark.
2 / 9
Architect Phoebe Schenker and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservatory’s Robert Lieber address a tour group in the courtyard on the concrete steps behind the center. “Here at Lands End, you are at the edge of the continent where the intersection of people and natural forces continues to change this wild landscape as they have for thousands of years,” says one of the project’s designers.
3 / 9
A tour and talk wound its way to the back of the concrete slab tile building where an elongated pathway sits at the edge of the ruins of the Sutro Baths and crashing waves 100 feet below.
4 / 9
The interior functions as a retail space and educational resource and features reclaimed wood accents.
5 / 9
Oversized wood beams with marine silhouettes grace the ceiling of the center. An array of art and images of old and new—such as these archival photos of the Cliff House and Seal Rock—hangs on the walls.
6 / 9
Robert Lieber with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy was intregally involved in maintaining the natural integrity of the project. Largely a volunteer effort from the start, it was made by possible by the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund and the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation and considered a “major milestone achievement in the ongoing revitalization of Lands End.” The Conservancy has carried out much of the restoration, including improving the popular coastal trails.
7 / 9
Visitors who are filing into the center on a Saturday afternoon peruse racks of books on California’s natural history and habitat, read the educational kiosks and eye the reproduction Sutro Bath ad posters. The center seems to be attracting people of every age as well as tourist and local alike. Similar to the Warming Hut at the Marina Green, the architecture and literature seems to draw you in to take a time out to take stock in the surroundings.
8 / 9
Take a detour into the Lookout Café to splurge on a treat in the sleek coffee nook.
9 / 9
lands end exterior
Flawlessly cool and understated, the wood trim and mid-century inspired fixtures, floor to ceiling glass, and pale gray concrete walls achieve a sublime solution to the natural revitalization and enhancement of Lands End—an ongoing effort by benefactors working along with the Park Conservancy. Careful attention has been paid to blending in with the use of materials, which should age gracefully and complement with the restored landscape.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

two of a kind padua italy matching family homes facade green roof doors color
For Dwell's annual issue dedicated to interiors , we visited homes from Haiti to italy. Here, we introduce you to the photographers and writers who made it happen.
April 30, 2016
houseofweek
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
April 30, 2016
W House living room
Our best reader reactions this week.
April 29, 2016
Vineyard house illuminated at night
Rammed-earth construction fuses this Portuguese house to the environment.
April 29, 2016
vintage Scandinavian furniture Kathryn Tyler
In southwest England, interior designer Kathryn Tyler built her home around her ever-expanding furniture collection.
April 29, 2016
steel facade home Seattle
On the sandy shores of Fauntleroy Cove in Seattle, renowned firm Olson Kundig Architects crafts a subtle home with striking steel accents.
April 29, 2016
seperate piece renovated guesthouse eames storage unit cork floor tiles living room
An architect and an interior designer put the tools to the test for this impressive renovation.
April 29, 2016
Ceramics by WrenLab
Manhattan doesn’t get to have all the fun during NYCxDesign. Brooklyn is set for the return of BKLYN DESIGNS at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint from May 6-8, 2016. Here are just a few exhibitors we are excited to see this year.
April 29, 2016
n0a6974 dxo
Architect Diego Revollo refreshes an apartment with a standout kitchen.
April 29, 2016
img 8652 1
The city of San Francisco has been eagerly awaiting the reopening of SFMOMA for years—and as the May 14th opening approaches closer everyday, the anticipation continues to build for art enthusiasts both near and far. This morning, we were given the opportunity to explore the newly expanded space before the crowds roll in. After a series of speeches, remarks, and tours, we left the grounds feeling thoroughly inspired and excited to share what we discovered.
April 28, 2016
gramercy 1 ar53319
A family doesn’t have to travel far for a private oasis away from the busy city.
April 28, 2016
Renovation of 1967 Hamburg apartment with Vipp kitchen.
In our April issue, we showcased an apartment in Hamburg, Germany, with a striking, matte-black kitchen from Vipp. The 77-year-old company became famous for its iconic pedal trash can before venturing into kitchens and other tools for the home. This isn't the first time that the Danish company's products have graced our pages, and here we've gathered additional examples from our archive that show how the brand's minimalist black kitchens are always a win in modern interiors.
April 28, 2016
Zafra residence living room.
A man and his wife make an emotional return to an apartment building he loved as a kid.
April 28, 2016
the garden inside concrete dining pavilion indoor outdoor custom cabinets thermador dishwasher refrigerator
A skylit conservatory doubles as a verdant dining parlor in Sonoma County, California.
April 28, 2016
Details of the Calico collection.
Calico Wallpaper founders Nick and Rachel Cope showed us through their home in our March Issue, now step inside their studio.
April 28, 2016
william krisel pow 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
April 27, 2016
Dwell on Design and designjunction at ArtBeam
It's all part of Dwell on Design + designjunction's three-day event, featuring a program of talks chock-full of leading figures in design, architecture, urbanism, and beyond—coming up May 13-15 at ArtBeam in New York.
April 27, 2016
seattles mariners floating house prefab facade exterior fiber cement panels
A prefabricated floating home drops anchor in the Pacific Northwest.
April 27, 2016
royan treatment living room stone fireplace vintage new furnishings
French designer Florence Deau effortlessly mixes the old with the new.
April 27, 2016
modern netherlands 13 noordeinde schoolhouse parquet herringbone floors stove
Take a lesson from this school-turned-home.
April 27, 2016
The sidewalks of Copacabana in Rio De Janero, Brazil, designed by Roberto Burle Marx
The Jewish Museum in New York City takes it outside with a celebration of the Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx.
April 26, 2016
Waterfront home in Belvedere, California
A 1960s home infested with powderpost beetles had to be sacrificed before this this Zen-inspired house could happen.
April 26, 2016
dialogue house
At the base of Echo Mountain in Phoenix, a geometric home by Wendell Burnette opens up to the surrounding desert landscape.
April 26, 2016
street smarts kitchen full view
A creative couple transforms an old Toronto storefront in Dundas West into a home and studio.
April 26, 2016
hald strand
This architect thinks of everything for his summer escape, pizza oven included.
April 26, 2016
gans turin residence living room
Thanks to a contemporary interior that she’s been updating for a decade, modern architect Abigail Turin has learned to love her traditional 1925 San Francisco home.
April 25, 2016
131
Johannesburg-based design studio Counterspace was founded in 2014 by young architecture graduates Sumayya Vally, Sarah de Villiers, and Amina Kaskar. Their projects are collaborative, research-led investigations into possible futures and ideas of otherness in Johannesburg.
April 25, 2016
through living room
A second-story addition and a new indoor-outdoor focus revive a nondescript house in L.A.
April 25, 2016
Modern living room with Flexform sofa and Jens Fager candelabra
An Antwerp home blurs the boundaries between art and design.
April 25, 2016
hillside haven  1
This backyard is its own modern retreat in the Berkeley Hills.
April 25, 2016