Art of Space,

Pasatiempo - - Art of Space -

Other green points are achieved by us­ing wood floor­ing from sus­tain­ably har­vested forests; a rain­wa­ter-col­lec­tion sys­tem that averts runoff and stores wa­ter to nur­ture land­scap­ing plants; and a triple-fil­tra­tion sys­tem that will clean both gray wa­ter and black wa­ter enough to be used on academy gar­dens. “We’re work­ing with land­scape de­signer Christie Green on plant­ings that are in­dige­nous and xeric,” Jag­gers said. “We want to re­store the land­scape, and in the fu­ture we want to have pro­grams that are re­lated to the land.”

Two of the most ob­vi­ous ar­chi­tec­tural high­lights are the bar­rel roof on the Academy Cen­ter and deeply can­tilevered roof el­e­ments for por­tales on the guest units. The can­tilevers — thick black-edged slabs with nat­u­ral-wood deck­ing un­der­neath — ex­tend hor­i­zon­tally from the build­ing masses, cre­at­ing out­door-liv­ing spa­ces while ad­vanc­ing the idea of clean, con­tem­po­rary ar­chi­tec­ture.

“We wanted to work with Spears to co-cre­ate build­ings that both held the en­vi­ron­men­tal con­scious­ness and are beau­ti­ful and re­ally con­tained our work, which is very deep with teach­ers, with lead­er­ship stu­dents, with or­ga­ni­za­tions,” Jag­gers said. “It’s im­por­tant we have spa­ces that al­low for the depth of that work, so they have to be well soundin­su­lated.” Leriche pointed, as an ex­am­ple, to “a very in­ter­est­ing floor-ceil­ing assem­bly” be­tween the main func­tion space on the sec­ond floor at the front of the Academy Cen­ter and the Se­ton Gallery be­low. From the top down are a mesquite-wood floor, a Warm­board sub­floor in­cor­po­rat­ing ra­di­ant-heat tub­ing, ply­wood float­ing on neo­prene discs 12 inches on cen­ter for sound in­su­la­tion, the 4.5-inch con­crete floor, a metal deck, beams, 10 inches of in­su­la­tion, two lay­ers of gyp­sum board hung on vi­bra­tion-iso­la­tion clips, and then an at­trac­tive wood-slat ceil­ing.

Each of the ma­jor rooms has a vestibule to cre­ate a sound lock. And Leriche men­tioned a high-ef­fi­ciency acous­ti­cal caulk used at ceil­ing-wall and floor-wall joints and at pipes, elec­tri­cal boxes, and other pen­e­tra­tions. Among the aes­thetic el­e­ments are hard-trow­eled plas­ter walls by GMB Con­struc­tion Old World Plas­ter, Santa Fe; doors by Span­ish Pue­blo Doors, Santa Fe; and a two-story lobby wa­ter­fall de­signed by academy vice pres­i­dent David Gor­don and made by Ro­man Foun­tains, Al­bu­querque.

Two ex­cep­tions to the use of in­su­lat­ing con­crete forms for walls are an adobe mul­ti­pur­pose room and a cir­cu­lar adobe chapel for med­i­ta­tion and con­tem­pla­tion. Oc­cu­py­ing the open end of a U-shaped court­yard, the two-story med­i­ta­tion chapel is an an­chor­ing form in the Academy Cen­ter’s as­sem­blage of masses.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion hopes the fa­cil­i­ties will be ready for use in Fe­bru­ary 2011. The project has taken longer than an­tic­i­pated, but loan-stingy banks are not to blame. The fa­cil­ity is be­ing built with phil­an­thropic sup­port, so no con­struc­tion loans were nec­es­sary. “In a time when the econ­omy is down, there is still a lot of money to sup­port changes in ed­u­ca­tion and learn­ing,” Jag­gers said.

Leriche is happy with the way the Academy Cen­ter and other build­ings nes­tle into the land­scape. Part of that suc­cess­ful de­sign, she said, came from the in­volve­ment of feng shui prac­ti­tioner Val­mai Howe, who aimed for a har­mo­nious lay­out of build­ing func­tions and use of the var­i­ous build­ing ma­te­ri­als. “I think the build­ings come out bet­ter than we draw them — or at least when I draw them. You have to be able to vi­su­al­ize it,” Leriche said, then quipped: “That’s why a lot of ar­chi­tects are left-handed.” Leriche has no­ticed that a dis­pro­por­tion­ate num­ber of ar­chi­tects are south­paws, and she’s one of them.

“I am very in­trigued by the hu­man brain and why no one un­der­stands or sees things the same way or learns the same way,” she said. “Vi­su­al­iz­ing three-di­men­sional spa­ces is chal­leng­ing for many peo­ple. Ar­chi­tects, whether left-or right-handed, need to be able to see three-di­men­sion­ally in their minds and turn things up­side down, back­wards, and in­side-out. Well-de­signed spa­ces feel good spa­tially and are key to a build­ing’s suc­cess.”

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