Visual Arts Center, Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and Santa Fe Art Institute--page 1 (of six pages)

Legorreta + Legorreta

The Legorreta part of the campus from Google Maps

See also this campus map. Only the bottom left of the map depicts this part of the campus.
Acclaimed Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta (who died December 30, 2011) and his son, Victor--thus Legorreta+Legorreta--designed this complex of buildings, a little town instead of one enormous building. The various structures are interconnected with covered walkways and interior courtyards. Only one building has two stories (Tishman Hall) seen on the left hovering beyond and above the front facade on the left side of the photos below. The horizontality is a kind of deference to the city of Santa Fe as well as a reminder of Legorreta's sources--the vernacular architecture of Mexico with its ever-present courtyards and walkways, evoking both Pre-Columbian cities as well as the convents and domestic architecture of Colonial Mexico. All the exteriors are synthetic stucco painted in deeply hued earth tones while interior courtyards are often painted more brilliant hues--lavender and fuschia, for example. Thus the style, while modern with clean and minimalist sculptural lines, also reflects the architect's heritage, and is an interesting departure from the ever-present glass and steel of much contemporary architecture.

The main east entrance to the Visual Arts Center


Planar walls and deep-set windows, some with sun breaks

While this facade seems fairly straight-forward, Christopher Hawthorne comments that there is "a strong sense of procession and a noticeable theatricality in Legorreta's designs. Serpentine plans and hidden courtyards [replace] direct axes and clear sight lines. He inherited from Barragan a distrust of the glass curtain wall, preferring the sense of enclosure and stability provided by thick-wall construction" (Los Angeles Times, January 8, 2012).

Continue to page 2.

See also Legorreta's Pershing Square in Los Angeles and his Plaza Juarez in Mexico City.

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© 2012 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.