Ryann Ford’s Rest Stops

In her series “Rest Stops: Vanishing Relics of the American Roadside,” Austin-based architectural photographer Ryann Ford documents rest areas along highways across the Southwest. Drawn to the simplicity of the structures set within stark landscapes, Ford selects sites featuring small covered picnic tables. The effort is timely, as many of these structures are quickly disappearing. 

Ford asserts that the rest stops offer unique designs specific to the geography and culture of each location. Using old maps and Google Streetview as her primary research tools, Ford identifies locations to shoot over the course of a week-long road trip. As roadsides become increasingly homogenized, this project offers a glimpse of vernacular architectural expressions that hearken back to an era of bygone leisurely road travel. 

The photo gallery for this article is expanded content for Texas Architect, September/October 2013.