The invented traditions of New Mexico
Spring Travel Course 2018
- 3 weeks of travel in New Mexico.
- Day trips throughout the state, lodging in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Truth or Consequences, and Ghost Ranch.
- Architectural history elective with design elements.
- Final project is a collaborative exhibition.
- Course content will interest architects, historians, urban planners, artists, archaeologists, and more.
- Intended for graduate students and advanced undergrads (some experience in architectural or art history suggested but not required).
- Approximate student travel costs: $1500. Includes lodging, transportation, food, admissions, and incidentals. This will likely come down after grant funding is secured.
Hear the Pitch! (begins at the 18:00 minute mark)
Download the PDF! (includes all the information below plus student travel budget)
First Introductory Meeting
Tuesday, November 28, 6-7 pm, Art & Architecture Building, room 2227
Homemade enchiladas available on a first-come, first-served basis. Meat and vegetarian options will be available.
Tentative Travel Schedule
May 1-May 8: Preliminary research in Ann Arbor
May 9 - May 31: Travel in New Mexico
June 1 - 20: Research and collaboration in Ann Arbor*
June 21: Final Review/Exhibition at Taubman College
*Negotiable; we can discuss participation in the latter half of the course in relationship to internships or summer jobs.
This course explores the varied landscape of New Mexican architecture from ancient cliff-dwellings to the development of atomic science and private space travel. Our travels will be focused around key moments of tensions or contradiction within the built environment of New Mexico, examining a range of urbanistic and architectural responses to the state’s natural and cultural landscapes. For instance, how did a territory known for accepting settlers in any state of “health, wealth, or ruined reputation” develop as an elite tourist destination in the early twentieth century? In the postwar period, how did the architecture of nuclear testing exist alongside the ecological building practices of antiwar counterculture? We will compare Santa Fe, where rigid stylistic building codes have held sway for over a century, to the wild sprawl of Albuquerque, where the “anything goes” verve of mid-century Route 66 has given way to unremitting corporatism and strip-mall sameness. At stake in our exploration is not only how New Mexican architecture developed, but how this architectural practice reciprocally shaped and was shaped by the stories, narratives, and mythos of the state. To that end, our site visits will be supplemented by a curated reading list of local fiction and nonfiction.
We will also partner with local institutions to gain a more comprehensive understanding of preservation, interpretation, and new construction within the context of contemporary New Mexico. One of the core learning experiences of the trip will be the opportunity to collaboratively create a photogrammetric model of Georgia O’Keeffe’s 1930s adobe house at Ghost Ranch, a remote structure set in one of the state’s most spectacular landscapes and currently not open to the public. We will gain further context about historical interpretation, adaptive reuse, and present practice through visits to AOS Architects and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) in Santa Fe.
This course begins with a week of preliminary research and preparatory lectures in Ann Arbor. We will then spend three weeks in New Mexico, during which time we will base our site visits and day trips out of Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Ghost Ranch, and Truth or Consequences.
True to the title of the course, our documentation and exploration will be nomadic and spontaneous, but grounded in rigorous historical analysis. We will document our findings through photography and sketching, using additional skills and technologies (such as photogrammetry and audio recording) where applicable. The final deliverable for the course will be a collaborative exhibition (either physical or digital) that combines historical analysis and student-created design interventions.
A complete list of proposed site visits appears below.
Proposed Site Visits
The following are arranged thematically and in rough chronological order.
- Petroglyph National Monument (c. 1000 BCE - 1600s CE)
- Acoma Pueblo (c. 1100 CE)
- Chaco Canyon (c. 850-1100 CE)
- Pecos National Historical Park (c. 1100 CE)
- Gila Cliff Dwellings (c. 1200 CE)
- Bandelier National Monument (c. 1350 CE)
- Taos Pueblo (Taos, c. 1000-1450 CE)
- El Morro National Monument (near Ramah, settled 1275 to 1350 CE, Spanish arrive 1600s)
- Palace of the Governors (Santa Fe, 1610, arch: Don Pedro de Peralta)
- San Francisco de Assisi Mission Church (Taos, 1816)
- Old Town, Albuquerque
- El Santuario de Chimayo (Chimayo, 1816, arch: Don Bernardo Abeyta)
- Santa Fe Plaza (Santa Fe, 1821)
- El Rancho de los Golondrinas Living History Museum (near Santa Fe)
Anglo Settlers, Health Seekers, and Early Tourism
- Ernest L. Blumenschein House (Taos, 1823)
- Ojo Caliente (1860s-present)
- Fort Union National Monument (Watrous, 1870s)
- Loretto Chapel (Santa Fe, 1878, arch: Antoine Mouly)
- Plaza Hotel (Las Vegas, 1882, arch: T.J. Raywood)
- Montezuma Hotel (now World College, Las Vegas, NM, 1885, arch: John Wellborn Root)
- Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi (Santa Fe, 1886)
- Alvarado Transportation Center (Albuquerque, 1902, interiors: Mary Colter)
- BNSF Railyards (Albuquerque, 1914-1925, architect: E.A. Harrison; C.F.W. Felt; A.F. Robinson)
- Mabel Dodge Luhan House (Taos, 1917-1922, arch: Tony Luhan and Mabel Dodge Luhan)
- La Fonda Hotel (Santa Fe, 1920s, arch: Rapp, Rapp and Hendrickson; John Gaw Meem with Mary Colter)
- Fuller Lodge (Los Alamos, 1928, arch: John Gaw Meem)
- Los Poblanos Historic Inn (Albuquerque, 1932, arch: John Gaw Meem)
- Georgia O’Keeffe House (Ghost Ranch, 1933, arch: Pack family)
- Georgia O’Keeffe House (Abiquiu, 1945, arch: Maria Chabot and Georgia O’Keeffe)
Route 66 and Pueblo Deco
- Glenrio Ghost Town (1901)
- KiMo Theater (Albuquerque, 1927; arch: Carl Boller)
- New Mexico State Fairgrounds
- Central Avenue Route 66 Historic Corridor (Albuquerque, 1920s-1940s)
- Zimmerman Library at the University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, 1938, arch: John Gaw Meem)
Art and Counter Culture
- Bart Prince House and Studio (Albuquerque, 1984-1990, arch: Bart Prince)
- Earthships (near Taos, 1970s, arch: Michael Reynolds)
- Ra Paulette Caves (near Santa Fe, 1996-present)
- Dwan Light Sanctuary (Las Vegas, 1996, artist: Virginia Dwan)
- Lighting Field (Quemado, 1977, artist: Walter de Maria)
Technocracy and Space
- 109 East Palace (Santa Fe, 1940s-1963)
- Trinity Test Site (White Sands Missile Range, near Socorro, 1945)
- White Sands V-2 Launching Site (White Sands Missile Range, near Socorro, 1945)
- The Very Large Array (Datil, 1970s)
- Spaceport America (2011-2014, arch: Foster + Partners)
- The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History (Albuquerque)
- Bradbury Science Museum (Los Alamos)
NM Architecture at the Crossroads
- Rio Grande Nature Center (Albuquerque, 1982, arch: Antoine Predock)
- Santa Fe Opera House (Santa Fe, 1997, arch: James Polshek and Partners, with Jack Purcell)
- Spencer Theater for the Performing Arts (Ruidoso, 1997, arch: Antoine Predock)
- George Pearl Hall (Albuquerque, 2008, arch: Antoine Predock with Jon Anderson)
- The House of Eternal Return at Meow Wolf (Santa Fe, 2010s)
- SITE Santa Fe (2016; arch: SHoP Architects)
- Museum of International Folk Art (Santa Fe)