[ ANTOINE PREDOCK ] MESA DEL SOL TOWN CENTER

Albuquerque, New Mexico
2008

 

The Town Center responds to the conditions of site while addressing the deep time of New Mexico. The dramatic University Blvd. approach to the building sets the Town Center as a distant abstract foreground to Guadalupe peak. The glass facade with multiple missions of iconography, sustainability, and public theater backdrop for video projection at night, is a spatial “catcher’s mitt” for the University Blvd. axis. The building is an artifact of the site – an ancient weathered presence like bones you might find in the high desert. It’s an exploration of different aspects of bone – from the cross sectional beauty of bone’s lattice structure to volumetric fragments. The building is an urban activator on all sides: the visually permeable arcing glass wall activates a park to the west, the east side faces parking for retail and restaurant access, and the north and south sides loosely conform to the street edges. The arrangement of entries, and the building’s porosity to pedestrians focus the social life on the outdoor environment.

The internal life of the building anticipates a variety of user types. The ground floor is almost entirely devoted to retail planned to include cafés, business services, boutiques, a two-story restaurant with a mountain view terrace, and a visitor center with local area and leasing information for potential residents. The University of New Mexico Film and Digital Media Center, an experimental program with a screening theater, film editing suites, and instructional studios, is conceived as an arm of the main Arc volume connected by a glass bridge. A mosaic of student video works-in-progress activates the north street edge. Lining the multiple surfaces of the entry lobby volume, this video array communicates the continuum of film arts in New Mexico.

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