Predock's Architecture School
by Susan Smith
In New Mexico, sandstone walls, granite boulders cracked by tree roots, and time-blurred ruins of past civilizations all rise against a cold cobalt sky variegated results of sun, wind, culture, and geology. Architect Antoine Predock cites such elements of the U.S. Southwest as influences on his design of the University of New Mexico (UNM) School of Architecture and Planning in Albuquerque.
Predock went to architecture school at UNM and has lived in the southwest for 54 years. He says the building is "an interpretation of what I think is wonderful about the area."
This interpretation is evident in the big concrete wall facing Central Avenue, which is part of historic Route 66. The wall signifies power and gravity to Predock; it is reminiscent of the towering sandstone cliffs of Canyon de Chelly. The monumental wall defines the building's relationship to the rest of the campus and establishes a strong presence on Central.
Receding from the big wall and protected by overhangs and louvers are the fully glazed studio areas, offering a transparent counterpoint to the heavy concrete. Expanses of glass usher New Mexico's abundant golden light into the studios, while at the same time giving a view of the street and the bustle of students crossing it to enter campus.
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