Our design for the new Albuquerque Sign Language Academy taps into the deep time connected to this unique site. Our inspiration for the project is influenced by the specific geology, climate and history connected to the site. The site has a long history within the flood plane of the Rio Grande from the early indigenous Pueblo cultures to modern day.
While the history of the sawmill district pre-dates the American Lumber Company, this is one of the most iconic sources of architectural history of the area. The original buildings had concrete floors, tall ceilings with high ribbons of clerestory windows that provided abundant natural light. Our design starts with a few of these ideas and adds other vernacular elements found in the current neighborhood. These include simple roof forms, weathered steel, stucco walls which are complemented by the presence of thick rammed earth. The massing of the building is stepped to relieve the impact as seen from the street, and the curved interior circulation zone reflects the arcing path of the timber rail lines that once travelled the land.