A Merit Award for Canyon gallery re­model

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THE RE­MOD­ELED GALLERY NOWKNOWN AS OTA CON­TEM­PO­RARY was given an AIAMerit Award last month. The gallery in a prom­i­nent lo­ca­tion at the cor­ner of Canyon Road and Paseo de Per­alta was el­e­gantly mod­ern­ized by Hoopes + As­so­ci­ates Ar­chi­tects.

“The own­ers had a vi­sion for this build­ing. We were just the im­ple­menters,” the firm’s prin­ci­pal, Craig Hoopes, told the Dec. 14 AIA gath­er­ing. “What is won­der­ful is I think this build­ing shows that con­tem­po­rary ar­chi­tec­ture can hap­pen within the Santa Fe ver­nac­u­lar.

The gallery, at about 3,000 square feet, was trans­formed from a pre­vi­ously ex­ist­ing wood-frame Span­ish-Pue­blo Re­vival-style gallery. The new build­ing shows a good deal of glass, stucco, and con­crete, with larger win­dows. “I think peo­ple are struck by the fact that they can see into one of the gal­leries on Canyon Road,” Hoopes said. “If you walk around Florence or Rome, there’s art all around you, but you get to Canyon Road and you can’t see in­side most of those gal­leries.

“The whole plaza was also re­done, so there are places for peo­ple to sit or to gather. I think the own­ers, Ed and Kiy­omi Baird, have made a sig­nif­i­cant gift to the city with that. OTA is Kiy­omi’s maiden name. She’s an artist and wanted to have a space to show art she felt needed to be seen, and also a place for per­for­mance art and con­ver­sa­tions about art.”

Dur­ing the awards, Ju­ror Car­los Jimenez told the AIA assem­bly that this project “be­gins with that kind of sin­gu­lar ar­chi­tec­ture of Santa Fe, which is a build­ing con­structed to ap­pear to have a cer­tain let us say pedi­gree of time and an­tiq­uity… The ar­chi­tects, he said, were able to open up the build­ing, to re­con­quer the build­ing with spa­tial and vol­u­met­ric pos­si­bil­i­ties, and we were very im­pressed by the re­fine­ment of the lan­guage and the sub­tlety of all the tech­niques that they used and in fact we dis­cussed many de­tails that we found not only in­ter­est­ing but we all were very keen on us­ing in our own work be­cause we didn’t know you could do this with a jamb or do this with a base­board.”

Jimenez also lauded the way the ar­chi­tects “were able to cre­ate a flu­id­ity within the gal­leries, be­cause the orig­i­nal build­ing was rather episodic in its bro­ken masses. They way they uni­fied all the gal­leries as if it was a much larger vol­ume was quite strik­ing.”

Build time was less than four months, but that was pre­ceded by six months se­cur­ing per­mits and per­mis­sions, in­clud­ing from the His­toric Dis­tricts Re­view Board. “This was not a his­toric build­ing,” Hoopes said. “We think it dates to about 1993. But we had to con­form to the reg­u­la­tions.”

In­side, the wood floors were ripped out and con­crete floors were honed to brighten them. The en­tire build­ing is not just more open, but brighter. Hoopes said the pre­vi­ous in­side was “stark,” even with kiva fire­places and ex­posed ceil­ing beams. “There were a lot of small rooms to max­im­ixe the wall space to show art and sell art. But art today tends to be larger and you need to step back and look at it and think about it.”

On the out­side, there was a wrap­around por­tal on the east and north that was re­moved, and there was a por­tal on the west that the builder ripped out. “That made the side­walk walk­a­ble. Two peo­ple could not walk down that side­walk be­cause of the por­tal col­umns that were spaced six feet apart: it just didn’t make sense to me.

“What’s great about it is it’s fresh, it keeps in the ver­nac­u­lar: it meets ev­ery con­di­tion that the guide­lines for build­ing in the his­toric dis­trict have. At the same time it con­veys a modern im­age.”— PaulWei­de­man

PHO­TOS BY KATE RUS­SELL COUR­TESY HOOPES + AS­SO­CI­ATES

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