Learn­ing curve

Build­ing the In­sti­tute of Amer­i­can In­dian Arts

Pasatiempo - - CON­TENTS - Paul Wei­de­man

Build­ing IAIA

VIEWED FROM THE SKY, it is ob­vi­ous that the plan of the In­sti­tute of Amer­i­can In­dian Arts cam­pus em­braces the car­di­nal di­rec­tions. The class­room build­ing and the Li­brary & Tech­nol­ogy Cen­ter are lo­cated pre­cisely north and south of a large cen­tral court­yard called the Dance Cir­cle. The Bar­bara & Robert Ells Science & Tech­nol­ogy Build­ing is due east, and be­yond that is an oc­tag­o­nal ho­gan — its cen­ter just 400 yards east of the cen­ter of the Dance Cir­cle. Ra­di­at­ing out from the green disc of the Dance Cir­cle, are long, curved trel­lis struc­tures that mark con­cen­tric cir­cles “like a stone dropped in a pond,” said Paul Fragua.

Fragua, a mem­ber of the Pue­blo of Je­mez, served as project co­or­di­na­tor as the IAIA cam­pus was planned and de­vel­oped, be­gin­ning in 1993. The cir­cu­lar theme is one as­pect that sur­vived from the orig­i­nal cam­pus plan by noted Cana­dian ar­chi­tect Dou­glas Car­di­nal (Black­foot-Métis). Among the el­e­ments that did not were the ac­tual build­ings. “Dou­glas Car­di­nal’s style is very curvi­lin­ear,” Fragua said. The IAIA build­ings were go­ing to be wavy, sim­i­lar to Car­di­nal’s First Na­tions Univer­sity of Canada in Regina, Saskatchewan, and his Na­tional Mu­seum of the Amer­i­can In­dian in Washington, D.C.

“The dream cam­pus was go­ing to be dif­fi­cult to build,” said Fragua, who has more than 30 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in ar­chi­tec­tural plan­ning, de­vel­op­ment, and de­sign and was on the IAIA plan­ning team for 13 years. The main walls of curvy build­ings can be made af­ford­ably with con­crete blocks, but the cost goes way up with ma­te­ri­als such as dry­wall, car­pet, and tile that are pro­duced in strictly rec­ti­lin­ear di­men­sions. Cut­ting ma­te­ri­als to fit curved sur­faces would also re­sult in a lot of con­struc­tion waste. “The real strug­gle was try­ing to im­ple­ment Dou­glas Car­di­nal’s mas­ter plan. There is a cir­cu­lar plaza, and it was dif­fi­cult to de­sign a phased project with that de­sign.”

IAIA ar­chiv­ist Ryan Flahive em­pha­sized that Lloyd Kiva New, who founded IAIA with Ge­orge Boyce in 1962 and was its first art di­rec­tor, “was a sup­porter of Doug Car­di­nal all the way through. The mas­ter plan was very well thought out but wasn’t com­pletely im­ple­mented, partly be­cause of a lack of funds. How­ever, the ori­en­ta­tions to the car­di­nal di­rec­tions and the sum­mer and win­ter sol­stices were pre­served.” One sin­gu­lar fea­ture that was not built was a three­sided tower with strate­gi­cally placed win­dows to af­ford views of dis­tant peaks held sa­cred by Pue­blo tribes.

Dur­ing an early-Au­gust meet­ing, IAIA pres­i­dent Robert Martin said, “We’ve tried as much as pos­si­ble to main­tain the in­tegrity and the guid­ing prin­ci­ples of the Car­di­nal plan, but we’ve had to de­vi­ate from that, be­gin­ning in 2000, for prac­ti­cal and bud­getary rea­sons.”

In 2000, af­ter 35 years of rent­ing fa­cil­i­ties from other in­sti­tu­tions, IAIA moved to a 140-acre par­cel a lit­tle more than a mile south­west of Santa Fe Com­mu­nity Col­lege. The site was do­nated 10 years ear­lier by the Ran­cho Viejo Part­ner­ship. In a 1999 in­ter­view, Fragua said con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als such as cast con­crete, steel, and glass would stress func­tion­al­ity and hon­esty. Ad­dress­ing de­sign pos­si­bil­i­ties,

he un­der­lined the fact that this would be a cen­ter of con­tem­po­rary In­dian art, “so it’s not go­ing to be some kind of neo-te­pee or long­house or the x-teenth ver­sion of the Pue­blo theme.”

The first build­ing on cam­pus was the ho­gan, which was built by Fragua, Della War­rior (IAIA pres­i­dent at the time), stu­dents, and fac­ulty. Next were the stu­dent res­i­dences (known as “the ca­sitas”), and the build­ing that housed art-stu­dio spa­ces and the IAIA ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fices; these were de­signed by Weller Ar­chi­tects and Sinkpe Ar­chi­tects Plan­ners. Then came the Li­brary & Tech­nol­ogy Cen­ter by BPLW Ar­chi­tects. Dy­ron Mur­phy, a Diné ar­chi­tect who was hired by IAIA to “up­date” the Car­di­nal plan six years ago, said, “The con­cept of the cam­pus de­sign re­volves around the cen­tral plaza, a cir­cu­lar el­e­ment that ties the en­tire cam­pus to­gether as an or­der­ing de­vice — the four car­di­nal di­rec­tions, in­clud­ing sol­stice lines, are also key el­e­ments of the plan. These el­e­ments form the ba­sis for Na­tive Amer­i­can plan­ning and ideas of one’s re­la­tion­ship with the nat­u­ral world.”

The first of sev­eral build­ings by Dy­ron Mur­phy Ar­chi­tects, Al­bu­querque, was the Cen­ter for Life­long Ed­u­ca­tion (CLE) Res­i­dence Cen­ter. While the ca­sitas of­fer hous­ing for mar­ried stu­dents with fam­i­lies, the new dor­mi­tory was de­signed to ac­com­mo­date sin­gle stu­dents, in­clud­ing those who were mov­ing to Santa Fe from else­where. About 60 per­cent of the in­sti­tute’s stu­dents live on cam­pus to­day.

Dy­ron Mur­phy Ar­chi­tects de­signed three build­ings that opened in 2010. Two of them, the Cen­ter for Life­long Ed­u­ca­tion con­fer­ence cen­ter and the Science & Tech­nol­ogy Build­ing, achieved “Gold” cer­ti­fi­ca­tions from the U.S. Green Build­ing Coun­cil’s Lead­er­ship in En­ergy & En­vi­ron­men­tal De­sign (LEED) rat­ing sys­tem. The Al­lan Houser Hao­zous Sculp­ture & Foundry Build­ing also was com­pleted in 2010.

A daz­zling fea­ture of the Science & Tech­nol­ogy Build­ing is the Dig­i­tal Dome, which looks like a mov­able plan­e­tar­ium. The steel dome is fully ar­tic­u­lated: It can move 90 de­grees in any di­rec­tion to pro­vide im­mer­sive view­ing ex­pe­ri­ences in art, tech­nol­ogy,

and re­search. Martin said it was con­ceived af­ter the in­sti­tute’s New Me­dia Arts chair vis­ited a more limited pro­jec­tion dome at the Univer­sity of New Mex­ico. “I think the in­no­va­tive na­ture of the Dig­i­tal Dome project was one of the rea­sons we were able to get the con­struc­tion grant.”

The $8.65 mil­lion con­struc­tion cost of the Sculp­ture & Foundry and Science & Tech­nol­ogy build­ings was paid with $7.65 mil­lion in grant money from the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion’s Ti­tle III pro­gram and $1 mil­lion in state fund­ing. More re­cently, vot­ers re­jected a bond for higher-ed­u­ca­tion im­prove­ments in 2010, but they passed a sim­i­lar mea­sure in 2012. In­cluded was $800,000 to build a Wel­come Cen­ter at IAIA. The two-story build­ing opened in March 2014. Martin said this was the first time the school used pri­vate-sec­tor fund­ing, for about $500,000 of the $3.5 mil­lion to­tal cost; the rest was from state and fed­eral grants.

“Be­fore this Wel­come Cen­ter, we had no front door to the cam­pus, no place to greet vis­i­tors,” Martin said. The build­ing also houses the school ad­min­is­tra­tion; the ad­min­is­tra­tors’ for­mer digs were con­verted to ad­di­tional stu­dios and class­rooms.

The next ad­di­tion to the cam­pus will be a per­form­ing arts/fit­ness cen­ter lo­cated south of the li­brary. “It’s $9.5 mil­lion in­clud­ing de­sign. We’ve got­ten $2.5 mil­lion from state, $500,000 from sev­er­ance bonds for the de­sign of the build­ing that’s in progress right now with Dy­ron Mur­phy, and then $2 mil­lion from the gen­eral-obli­ga­tion bond for con­struc­tion.” Although the new build­ing will sat­isfy the needs for a cam­pus gym­na­sium, fit­ness fa­cil­i­ties for both stu­dents and fac­ulty, and a per­form­ing-arts space, it will not have a stu­dent union build­ing; this was to be in­cluded in a fu­ture Well­ness Cen­ter, ac­cord­ing to the new cam­pus mas­ter plan de­vel­oped in 2010. Where do stu­dents gather now? “The Cen­ter for Life­long Ed­u­ca­tion has a café, and we have learn­ing spa­ces with wi-fi there and in the other build­ings as well.”

Martin said that a pair of sweat lodges lo­cated near the ho­gan “are used quite of­ten” and so is the big Dance Cir­cle. “We have pow­wows, in­clud­ing one in the spring in con­junc­tion with grad­u­a­tion, and if we wanted to honor some­one we might have an honor pow­wow.”

Top, Estella Loretto’s The Awak­en­ing in front of the Bar­bara & Robert Ells Science & Tech­nol­ogy Build­ing; above, from left, the Dou­glas Car­di­nal cam­pus plan; the Cen­ter for Life­long Ed­u­ca­tion con­fer­ence build­ing Op­po­site page, top, from left, Lloyd Kiva New Wel­come Cen­ter; the Dance Cir­cle with the 1963 Round Dance sculp­ture by Lawrence Spratt and Jerry Nor­ton; cen­ter, horno in the Hao­zous Gar­den; bot­tom, the Wel­come Cen­ter lobby

It’s not go­ing to be some kind of new-te­pee or long­house or the x-teenth ver­sion

of the Pue­blo theme. — Ar­chi­tect Paul Fragua, on the plan­ning

of the IAIA cam­pus, 1999

Juanita Toledo (Wala­towa/Je­mez) at a 2014 MoCNA open­ing ; bot­tom, IAIA grad­u­at­ing se­nior Tah­nee Ah­tone Harjo Grow­ing Thun­der (Kiowa); pho­tos Ja­son S. Or­daz

State-of-the-art Dig­i­tal Dome in IAIA’s Science & Tech­nol­ogy Build­ing, photo Ja­son S. Or­daz

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