Vladem Contemporary, Santa Fe New Mexico

(with dncarchitect)

“Art is not a privilege. Art is the soul of our civilization; the beating heart of our humanity; a miracle to which we all should bear witness, over and over again…”        Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation

Scheduled for completion in 2020, this building will complete the New Mexico Museum of Art’s mission of “One Museum in Two Locations”, providing a new home for their contemporary art collections and shows. The building will provide spaces for collections, galleries, and education.

The project is comprised of a 15,000 square foot addition that bridges over an existing 20,000 square foot 1930’s brick and steel warehouse. The existing building is oriented to the grid of the adjacent railroad tracks, and the addition is aligned with the newer grid of surrounding city streets.


The design has been guided by a desire to infuse Santa Fe’s unique light into the heart of the building. A central feature of the project is the use of the new portion of the building as a clerestory device to introduce natural light into the heart of the old warehouse structure. The roof over the warehouse box will be separated from the exterior walls by a continuous skylight. Together these features will reduce the need for artificial light.

There will be two main entrances to the Vladem Contemporary: one facing towards Santa Fe’s downtown and the original location of the New Mexico Museum of Art, and the other facing toward the Railyard and the Rail Runner, connecting Santa Fe to the rest of New Mexico. The two entrances will be joined by a large central hall that will allow for people to pass through the building and gain glimpses of art at the ground level gallery without paying  for entrance.

The decision to bridge new structure over existing allows for pedestrian traffic to filter through the site to and from the Railyard and Rail Runner to Santa Fe’s downtown, while providing areas for people to rest, gather, and celebrate. Access to a large roof deck providing spectacular eastward views to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.