For nearly four years, SITE Santa Fe’s front facade has been a modestly arresting sight. In the next year and a half, a much more dramatic entrance will be constructed as part of a $6 million remodel.
On March 1, astronaut Scott Kelly came home after an American-record 340 days at the International Space Station. That was in the news, but there’s so much amazing research going on in space all the time that most of us never hear about. The scientific experiments are just one part of what David Nixon covers in the eminently readable and fabulously illustrated International Space Station: Architecture Beyond Earth, just out from Circa Press in London.
The first thing I saw at the home of Michael Jantzen was a chair on the front porch. He warned me not to sit in it, as it is a “deconstructed” chair. It’s one of the pieces from his portfolio that is more art than architecture, but both domains are important to the artist and designer.
El Zaguán, 545 Canyon Road, is owned by the 54-year-old Historic Santa Fe Foundation. The HSFF board of directors wanted to use natural, traditional finishes in restoring the building, but they can be problematic, as water soaks up from the base and degrades the finish.
Passersby and neighbors of the house at 524 Alto St. have seen the progress of some remarkable work during the past six months. What looks like a little house from the street (only about 18 feet wide), the García House is 75 feet deep, and all along those walls, workers have painstakingly cut away small sections of concrete stucco.
In a way, La Posada de Santa Fe — one of the city’s most luxurious hotels — has pulled off a rather bizarre camouflage act. A rear corner of the 1882 house is visible from La Posada’s patio restaurant, but from the front, you have to step back on Palace Avenue to see the old Staab House popping up from the 20th-century building additions.
One of Santa Fe’s “invisible” historic homes is profiled in The Roque Lobato House, Santa Fe, New Mexico, a new book by architectural historian Chris Wilson and Oliver Horn, son of the house’s owners, Susan and Karl L. Horn. The book’s first chapter examines the people who have owned this house and their links to significant events in the history of Santa Fe and New Mexico.
The building at 215 E. De Vargas St., famously named “the oldest inhabited home in the U.S.” by Harper’s Weekly in 1879, may not even be the oldest in Santa Fe.
Eighty years ago, John Gaw Meem tied the knot on a singular architectural achievement. With La Quinta at Los Poblanos Ranch in Albuquerque and the Federal Emergency Recovery Act Building (now called the Villagra Building) in Santa Fe, his elaboration of a new style, the Territorial Revival, was fully realized.
At the annual Santa Fe Fiesta Lecture, archaeologist Cordelia “Dedie” Thomas Snow discusses a topic that’s dear to her: the Palace of the Governors. But because the old structure is also dear to everyone else in Santa Fe, she’s a little worried that some of her revelations will jostle some cherished notions. “I may get run out of town,” she told Pasatiempo.
The Albuquerque hotel — named for Hernando de Alvarado, a Spanish artillery captain on the 1540-1542 Coronado expedition — opened in May 1902. It was designed by Charles Frederick Whittlesey, the AT&SF’s chief architect.
Las Vegas’ La Castañeda Hotel, 115 years old and closed since 1948, must have been well made. The building’s appraisal by Linda Gegick, who has been working on architectural, engineering, and historic surveys for new owner Allan Affeldt, makes the restoration challenge sound modest. “I’d say that it suffers from a lack of regular maintenance,” she summed up.
A 1937 abstract painting is among a trove of more than 150 works on paper by William Lumpkins that were recently released by his estate and are available at Matthews Gallery. None of the watercolors, serigraphs, and felt-tip-pen drawings by the late architect and artist have been seen before by the public.
Matt Lambros’ richly detailed photographs of abandoned theaters are portraits of gaudy decrepitude, a lamentable parade of forgotten architectural glories. The Brooklyn photographer backs up his images with research illuminating the stories behind the buildings and, once in a while, hope that restoration is on the horizon. Ten prints from Lambros’ After the Final Curtain series are on exhibit at the Jean Cocteau Cinema through March 17.
The real-estate market in Santa Fe now is very slow compared with that of the pre-recession mid-2000s, but new houses are being built here and there. An especially active segment is for smaller contemporary homes, according to Gabriel Browne, the principal of Praxis Architects. His 1,615-square-foot residence for James David and Gary Peese fits the description.
Much of what’s happening with architecture in Santa Fe — including the proliferation of pseudoadobes — is determined with tourism in mind. “The tourists are not the problem,” says author Daniel Bluestone. “It is the people that set out to coddle and swaddle tourists at every turn, not realizing that they really want some connection to authenticity."
The range of traditional American Indian housing types includes multistory adobe dwellings, hogans, tepees, wickiups, the residential earthworks of the mound builders, the enormous wood houses of the Wakeshan people of Vancouver Island, and the cedar-planked, shed-roof houses of the Makah people in Neah Bay, Washington.
San Esteban del Rey stands as a record of more than 300 years of maintenance and repair, but there are signs of experimentation with both materials and construction. Archaeologist Michael Marshall, who did an analysis of the mission’s convento in 1975, wrote that church architecture in 17th-century New Mexico was indeed “highly experimental.”
Dennis Tedlock pairs photographs of lots of different buildings and other things out there with texts describing what we see, and more. It reminds us of the fact that, when viewing a photograph, we so often have unanswered questions about objects in the picture or its background or other aspects.
If you’ve had the opportunity to visit one of Ra Paulette’s art caves in the Embudo area, the word “transcendent” might occur to you when describing the experience. “I call it the cave effect,” Paulette said. “There are some perceptual and psychological things that are in play, as far as a medium goes, that are advantages in this work.”
The story of the rebuilding of the devastated World Trade Center site is enormously complicated. The process has involved many people and parties. Some believed that nothing at all should be built there, but it was a certainty that whatever was built would be far from ordinary.
Fans of architect John McHugh have two reasons for excitement: an exhibition of his paintings at Matthews Gallery and the publication of John McHugh Travel Sketches: A Record of His Travels and Observations and a Guide to Sketching in the Field.
What is that orange building with the interesting yellow awnings over on Railfan Road in the Baca Street area of the Santa Fe Railyard? Since the spring of 2012, there have usually been one or two examples of outdoor sculpture in front of the building, visible to drivers on Cerrillos Road.
"Hardly anyone knows about her, " Catherine Colby said of Kate Chapman (1887-1944), the subject of her new book. Chapman was one of those independent women who broke away from their stilted traditional surroundings elsewhere in the country to forge a home and career in Santa Fe in the early 20th century.
The new book Sun Sticks and Mud: 1,000 Years of Earth Building in the Desert Southwest, published by La Sombra Books, looks at building not only with adobe bricks, but with puddled adobe, cob (mud with straw), earth-bag, rammed-earth, jacal (mudded pole), and construction with terrones.