Mountain West Architectural Bucket List

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PUBLISHED April 1, 2022

By Bailey Schramm 

The American Mountain West is known for its wide-open spaces and breathtaking vistas, but there are many architectural highlights in the region that should not be overlooked. From New Mexico to Idaho, and Nevada to Wyoming, we look into some of the top architectural sites in the region that should be added to your travel bucket list. 

Must-See Locations:

The Stremmel House

With 360 degree views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Reno city lights, this hilltop home offers sweeping vistas of the surrounding red rocks and wildflowers. Showcasing its personality through its vibrant exterior, angular design, and floor-to-ceiling windows, catching a glimpse of the Stremmel House from U.S. 395 is a highlight for many visitors to this western Nevada town.

Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory

One of the more unique-looking structures on the list, this conservatory houses exotic and tropical plants from all around the world, right in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Originally constructed in 1966, this greenhouse has been a mainstay for the Mile-High City for decades, which you can check out for yourself at the Denver Botanic Gardens any day of the week. 

National Museum of Wildlife Art

Complementing the beautiful artworks inside, the exterior to this museum appears to be an installation itself. Built in 1987 in Jackson, Wyoming, the architects for this building drew inspiration from the ruins of the Slains Castle in Scotland. Housing over 5,000 pieces of artwork of wild animals from all around the world by notable artists like Georgia O’Keeffe and Andy Warhol, this award-winning hillside masterpiece warrants a stop on the way to your next Yellowstone adventure.   

Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings

By far the oldest structures on this list, these cliffside abodes span across New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. 

Constructed just after 1000-1100 CE, there are over

 600 individual structures built by the Ancestral Puebloan peoples, formerly referred to as the Anasazi, and can be viewed throughout the Four Corners  region of the country. 

The JUMP Building

The creators of this architectural wonder invite visitors to look at life through a different lens and try something new. Giving the building its industrial look, the structure is made primarily out of steel and concrete and was created as an interactive space to help all visitors get their creativity flowing. Placed right in downtown Boise, the construction of this building was finished in 2016, making it one of the newer structures on this list.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of all architectural wonders in the American Mountain West, and other notable homes and buildings in the region include the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the Cooper House in Laramie, Wyoming, and the Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake City. Though you may be heading out West to breathe in the fresh mountain air and enjoy the natural beauty of the landscape, don’t overlook the stunning architecture you can find throughout the region. 

Bailey Schramm is a writer in partnership with wrought iron door manufacturers, Abby Iron Doors.

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