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V.23 No.14 | 4/3/2014
The Hive founder, Jesse Kalapa, under an earthbag wall built with UNM sustainability students
photos by Cameron Crow

Arts Education

Gimme Supershelter

Sustainable architecture can be learned in a few weekends

Building the New World is a workshop series that puts low-cost, earth-friendly building techniques in your hands.
View in Alibi calendar calendar

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Architecture

“Green” Living

Modern Home Tours brings sustainable homes to New Mexico

3453 New Mexico 14 by Bill Stengle
3453 New Mexico 14 by Bill Stengle

Frank Lloyd Wright once said that “every great architect is—necessarily—a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.” Given that we live in a state that stresses the importance of sustainable living and eco-friendly promise, the field of architecture has progressed with the trends of becoming environmentally viable.

So, you might ask what are some of the ways that people can become more “green,” seeing as how it's not only a topic of conversation equalling the new “Kardashians” episode, but an actual concern that's permeating the atmosphere, so to speak.

Based in Austin, Texas, Matt Swinney and James Leasure started the Modern Home Tour in 2011 in an effort to combine beautiful architecture with sustainable living. Using the likes of floor-to-ceiling windows to bring in natural light and using solar panels, rather than wasteful air conditioning units, to power the home, these little casitas are aimed and designed at giving people a fresh look at living to protect our future.

“I think that the simple fact is that resources are limited and the population is growing,” Leasure said. “A lot of the really advanced architecture and modern design can help us achieve that.”

Now, the idea of sustainable living isn't without its arguments. Having spoken to several people about the idea of sustainable living, some feel that the idea of trying to promote eco-friendly measures is something that is simply delaying the inevitable. Because of the limited resources, and the idea that the world is crumbling little by little, it would be easy to argue that the actions of a few can hardly outweigh those of the majority.

“In order to take a step, you have to take half a step, and in order to take half a step, you have to take a quarter step,” Leasure said. “There is some value here, and that's sort of our goal, that we show people that this can be interesting and attractive, and even if they won't do it for your fellow man, they can at least see this as being interesting and beautiful.”

And beauty does seem to be one of the main tenets of what Modern Home Tours hopes to achieve. Using geothermal heating and cooling as well as rainwater collection to reuse and recycle what nature gives us, they are showcasing million-dollar homes for people to see how modernity can be beneficial, and how people can use these benefits to advance their home to not only be sustainably sound, but also to educate and teach about how recycling and living green can prolong our future.

But, it seems somewhat ridiculous that people would be able to afford homes of this magnitude, much less adopt the ideas of living green as a measure of everyday life. From looking at these homes, it appears that the ideas of sustainable living can only cater to those who have fat wallets. But Leasure assures that while these homes are somewhat expensive, the ideas aren't.

“The quirks are very acceptable,” Leasure said. “If you take something like that [sustainable living and geothermal cooling] and put them in a new house that doesn't have to have a modern design, you can see that this becomes a real and tangible thing.”

Modern Home Tours will showcase their “green” homes in Taos, N.M. on Saturday, April 27 and in Santa Fe, N.M. on Sunday, April 28, both days from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Advance tickets are $30 and include both days of the tour, or you can purchase tickets the day of the tours for $40. Children 12 and under get in for free. For home addresses and more information, you can visit newmexico.modernhometours.com.

Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Feature

Crimes of the Anasazi: Getting busted in Downtown’s embattled high-rise

It wasn’t a good idea. We knew that at the time, but I guess we thought we would get away with it.

On March 23, 2011, Mike Smith and I took the bus down Central through Albuquerque’s neon-lit Downtown. We were headed toward the Anasazi building. At nine stories tall, it towered over other buildings on the block, and its pueblo-influenced, multitier design gave its dark, empty windows romantic intrigue. Could we get in? What was inside? What would it be like to be one of the few people who had looked out of those lofty windows?

Near the very top of its eastern face, there was a tantalizing sign that entry was possible: A graffiti rainbow coursed from the rooftop down the bare side. If that artist could get in, so could we. We didn’t think about what would happen if we got caught; we just wanted to see it from the inside.

V.21 No.30 | 7/26/2012
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com

Feature

Crimes of the Anasazi

Getting busted in Downtown’s embattled high-rise

It wasn’t a good idea. We knew that at the time, but I guess we thought we would get away with it.

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Architecture

Car dealership ditches cool roof

Albuquerque should be glorifying flashy, vintage buildings like this one—not homogenizing them.
Albuquerque should be glorifying flashy, vintage buildings like this one—not homogenizing them.

This photo was taken a few weeks ago at the northwest corner of Lomas and University. By now the exuberant, mid-century roof (a style referred to as mannered modernism), dating back to the glory days of the American automobile, is mostly obscured by a bland facade.

V.20 No.43 | 10/27/2011
The Werner-Gilchrist house in 1908
Courtesy of the City of Albuquerque

Opinion

The Architectural Undead

A 103-year-old University Heights landmark faces demolition

The house was once a dignified example of Albuquerque’s expanding place in the world. Now she’s as ragged as a moth-eaten ball gown, and, sadly, may soon be laid to rest like too many of the city’s other architectural beauties.

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Architecture

Aztec Motel razed

R.I.P. Aztec Motel
R.I.P. Aztec Motel

A piece of Americana was lost last week as the Aztec Motel, which once stood at Central and Aliso in Nob Hill, was demolished. According to this KRQE report, owner Jerry Landgraf, said it would have cost too much—an estimated $1 million (which, in the scheme of things, seems like an insignificant amount of money)—to restore the memorabilia-bedecked landmark, built in 1932. Landgraf now intends to erect lofts or shops at the site. On the bright side, the City of Albuquerque owns El Vado and the De Anza, and plans to restore those historic Route 66 motels.

Alibi Picks

Cross the Divide

516 Arts (516 Central SW) will present a free panel discussion, The Construction of the Counterculture: The Role of Women & the Place of Architecture, as well as two new exhibitions—Across the Great Divide, photography by Roberta Price, and Worlds Outside This One, works by multiple international artists—all on Saturday. Panelists include Price and artist Linda Fleming, both early residents of the Libre commune, and the architect Arnold Valdez. The panel is at 2 p.m., followed by a reception for the art opening at 6 p.m. This triad is the first event of a summer-long collaboration between 516 and Alvarado Urban Farm, unCommon Ground, a series of exhibits and programming about self-sufficiency, community and visions of utopia.

V.20 No.22 | 6/2/2011
The KiMo—with its original sign—soon after it was built
Courtesy of the KiMo Theatre

Feature

KiMo Revival

The Southwest's most iconic theater gets its crown back

This week, with the installation of a replica of the KiMo Theatre’s original sign, Albuquerque pays homage to its most flamboyant architectural asset.

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news

The latest on the Paolo Soleri

Raffaele Elba, courtesy of Arcosanti Foundation

In June, word leaked that the Santa Fe Indian School was planning to tear down Santa Fe’s landmark Amphitheatre. Alumni and locals protested, starting an online petition and a Facebook page. Paolo Soleri himself spoke out against his namesake’s demise. Architect Bart Prince penned an essay for the Alibi decrying the demolition of the nearly half century-old structure.

News reports died out by the end of August, but what was the final verdict for the Paolo Soleri?

Yesterday, I called Edward Calabaza, spokesperson for the Santa Fe Indian School. He says plans are “in a holding pattern.” The school met with representatives of Sens. Tom Udall and Jeff Bingaman. They offered to find federal resources and work something out, according to Calabaza. “We agreed not to move forward with anything.”

The school understands that there’s a need for a venue like the Paolo Soleri, he adds. But it’s been detrimental to the learning environment, he says, in that the building is deteriorating and soaking up resources that could go to students. “It’s a money pit,” he says. “It’s just an aged facility.” It will cost $4 million to refurbish and put a roof over the Paolo Soleri, he says, and an additional $900,000 in labor and ongoing maintenance.

The school will hold off on tearing down the Paolo Soleri “as long as we feel they are putting in some kind of effort to help us find some kind of solution,” Calabaza says. But he understands that it might not be at the top of the senators’ priority lists, given the economic situation and the shakeup in Congress.

Interior Design

The 96-square-foot house

Play Youtube Video

“Excess isn’t luxury,” says Jay Shafer, owner of the Tumbleweed Tiny House company. The houses go for $40,000 or $50,000 ready-made but can cost 50 percent less if you build it yourself.

Hell yes.

More Videos

V.19 No.25 | 6/24/2010
Since 1965 the Paolo Soleri Amphitheater has been part of Santa Fe’s cultural scene. As of August, it will be no more than dust.
Raffaele Elba, courtesy of Arcosanti Foundation

Commentary

Building Something out of Nothing

The Paolo Soleri is closing, and that totally sucks

After laboriously banging out 650 words about the closure of the Paolo Soleri Amphitheater in Santa Fe, I realized something that made me select all > delete.

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    BUDS AND SUDS TOUR5.22.2014