Art of Space Paul Wei­de­man ex­am­ines the next phase of San­busco

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO - Paul Wei­de­man

Look west down Mon­tezuma Av­enue to­day and you’ll see a dis­tinc­tive brick build­ing that dates to 1880, the year in which trains with the Atchi­son, Topeka & Santa Fe Rail­way first rolled into Santa Fe. Built as a ware­house for the lum­ber com­pany owned by Char­les W. Dudrow, the false-front build­ing with or­na­men­tal brickwork and a stepped para­pet topped by two squat tow­ers on a mod­il­lion cor­nice was dis­guised over the years with stucco and paint. But its orig­i­nal ar­chi­tec­tural coun­te­nance has been re­stored for its new sta­tus as part of the New Mex­ico School for the Arts (NMSA) high school and art in­sti­tute.

“The paint is gone, and we’re re­do­ing all of our mor­tar joints, and we’re tak­ing it back to the orig­i­nal brick color,” said Steven Osborn of Stu­dio South­west Ar­chi­tects. The firm is work­ing with the ad­min­is­tra­tors of the eight-year-old school; the builder, Klinger Con­struc­tors; and the San An­to­nio firm Lake Flato Ar­chi­tects, which did the mas­ter plan for the cam­pus.

The $30 mil­lion first phase of the project in­volves some new con­struc­tion key­holed in between struc­turally sound, ex­ist­ing build­ings that are be­ing de­vel­oped in the “adap­tive re-use” realm. “It’s stick­ing with the good bones and get­ting rid of the bad bones,” Osborn said. “There were parts of the build­ing that were go­ing to fall in if we had an in­crease of ac­tiv­ity, and those went away.”

NMSA will oc­cupy, and unify, three for­mer spa­ces on the site:

the Dudrow ware­house, which had a sec­ond life as Santa Fe Builders Sup­ply Co. (“San­busco”) start­ing in 1916, and a third phase as the San­busco Mar­ket Cen­ter be­gin­ning in 1986;

the But­ler & Fo­ley Build­ing, which housed the build­ing busi­ness of Gla­dys Eubank and Ed­win Rugg, who served as the prin­ci­pal con­trac­tors for John Gaw Meem through the 1930s; then was oc­cu­pied from the mid-1940s to 1984 by the But­ler & Fo­ley Plumb­ing and Heat­ing Com­pany; and fi­nally was oc­cu­pied by Cost Plus World Mar­ket from 2000 to 2016;

the for­mer Bor­ders Books & Mu­sic, built for the book­store in 1998.

Per­haps the most ob­vi­ous change amidst con­struc­tion is that the sec­tion of the San­busco Mar­ket Cen­ter that was north of the long cen­tral hall­way was razed and is be­ing re­placed with a steel-framed sec­tion. “They built that brick build­ing, and then in the teens they added a drive-through lum­ber­yard to the side, then in two phases they added on the wings with mas­sive beams that were held up by a few nails. Ob­vi­ously, in 1920, life safety wasn’t a big is­sue,” Osborn said, not­ing that the north sec­tion would have been too ex­pen­sive to re­store. “We just took it down. We don’t want any­one to die. The whole north wall of what we call ‘The Paseo’ had no foot­ing. Klinger had to pour 380 [cu­bic] feet of stem wall and foot­ing just to sup­port that.”

The ar­chi­tect said he and Jeff Seres from Stu­dio South­west’s Santa Fe of­fice have en­joyed the col­lab­o­ra­tion with Lake Flato. “How­ever, a lot of the project is driven by HDRB [the city’s His­toric De­sign Re­view Board] and its dra­co­nian method­ol­ogy. They talk about av­er­age heights, but you can’t count churches or hos­pi­tals. They keep every­thing low be­cause of this sort of ar­cane way in which they re­strict heights.”

Of course, build­ing height is an im­por­tant fac­tor, as his­toric-preser­va­tion ad­vo­cates at City Hall and in the com­mu­nity en­deavor to main­tain the his­toric fab­ric (and moun­tain views) in Santa Fe’s cen­tral area. With

its in­dus­trial his­tory — lum­ber and other ma­te­ri­als were once loaded and un­loaded from box­cars im­me­di­ately ad­ja­cent to the old ware­house — you would think the site would be in the Santa Fe Rai­l­yard, but it’s not. “The Rai­l­yard ends right at our prop­erty line,” Osborn said. “I had to show the HDRB im­ages from the turn of the cen­tury to show a metal build­ing, be­cause if [the board mem­bers] had it their way, it would all be stucco with vi­gas.”

Af­ter the school and its ar­chi­tect-agents se­cured ap­proval to change the site’s pur­pose from a shop­ping cen­ter to a school, they ar­gued that, be­cause of the Bor­ders ad­di­tion, San­busco’s sta­tus as “Con­tribut­ing” in the his­toric district should be down­graded. That was achieved. “That gave us a green light to kind of do what we wanted, but the brick build­ing was never go­ing to go any­where. And on some things we did set­tle with HDRB — for ex­am­ple, in the choice of the sid­ing.”

The new façade ma­te­rial is metal panel: chromi­umgray pan­els in­stalled ver­ti­cally with seams ev­ery 3 inches. Osborn said that se­lec­tion was in­spired by a pho­to­graph from the early 20th cen­tury. “Even in the modern ma­te­ri­als we chose, there’s still a his­tor­i­cal ref­er­ence.”

The suc­cess­ful nom­i­na­tion for the State Reg­is­ter of Cul­tural Prop­er­ties cites the orig­i­nal 1880 build­ing built in “rail­road com­mer­cial style” by lo­cal lum­ber dealer Dudrow. Ap­par­ently, he was also into ice. A brief in the March 6, 1884, is­sue of the New Mex­i­can

Re­view refers to him as “Santa Fe’s trans­fer man and a well-known ice dealer” who con­trolled a large pond six miles from Glo­ri­eta. “This year he har­vested some 2,000 tons of ice and next year he ex­pects to sup­ply the en­tire south­ern coun­try with ice,” it said.

The Santa Fe Builders Sup­ply Co. started in 1916 on the Santa Fe site. By 1933, it of­fered not only lum­ber but wind­mills, plumb­ing fix­tures, heat­ing equip­ment, ce­ment and plas­ter, paints, hard­ware, roof­ing, elec­tric wiring, pipe and valves, doors, win­dows, pumps, en­gines, and more. In May 1941, a story in the Santa Fe

New Mex­i­can de­clared San­busco the only pri­vate com­pany in town that had its own print­ing plant, one that was run by E.B. Ti­tus.

Af­ter Amer­ica en­tered World War II, the build­ing com­pany helped with the con­struc­tion of the Man­hat­tan Project, the se­cret “Project X” to de­velop the atom bomb at Los Alamos. A June 1942 ad in

The New Mex­i­can in­cluded these words in a box at the bot­tom of the page: “Dur­ing the emer­gency now faced by this na­tion, San­busco is proud of the part it is play­ing in the con­ser­va­tion of the na­tion’s sub­stance. Re­stric­tions placed on build­ing ma­te­ri­als by the gov­ern­ment may seem hard, even un­nec­es­sary at times, but such is im­per­a­tive if we are to win the war.”

Time marched on, and the old build­ing changed. Pho­tos from the 1950s show a schlocky Santa Fe Style façade ad­di­tion that hid the old brick ware­house façade be­hind a long stuc­coed front that ex­tended all across the drive-through ad­di­tion (which once also had a stepped false front). In­hab­i­tants in the 1970s and ’80s in­cluded Dave’s Au­to­mo­tive; a cus­tom sky­light busi­ness; Larry Archibald’s 500 Mon­tezuma re­pair shop for Mercedes-Ben­zes, Porsches, and BMWs; Hubbell So­lar; and the Chil­dren’s Art Stu­dio. “To­day, af­ter be­ing mostly aban­doned for 30 years, C.W. Dudrow’s com­plex teems with life and com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment in the new Sam­busco [sic] Ware­house project,” pro­claimed an ad in the news­pa­per of March 8, 1986. “Part­ners Joe Schepps and Doug McDow­ell will spend more than $3 mil­lion to re­store and re­model the sprawl­ing ware­house with its wing-like steel roof and com­pli­cated in­ter­nal net­work of huge sup­port­ing beams and trusses a 70,000-square-foot com­mer­cial com­plex.” It called this “the first his­tor­i­cal preser­va­tion project in the rail­road district.”

Af­ter the char­ter school’s non­profit part­ner, the NMSA-Art In­sti­tute, pur­chased the prop­erty in 2015, NMSA an­nounced its con­struc­tion plans and in­ten­tion to re­lo­cate classes from the 1948 St. Fran­cis Cathe­dral School on the cor­ner of Paseo de Per­alta and Alameda Street. Most of the San­busco busi­nesses — in­clud­ing Op. Cit Books, Pan­dora’s, Teca Tu Pet

Af­ter Amer­ica en­tered World War II, San­busco helped with the con­struc­tion of the Man­hat­tan Project.

Em­po­rium, and Ki­oti — re­lo­cated to the DeVar­gas Cen­ter be­gin­ning in fall 2015.

The first phase of the NMSA project will re­sult in class­room, stu­dio, and sci­ence-lab spa­ces, as well as ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fices and din­ing fa­cil­i­ties. “The to­tal Phase One project cost is $30 mil­lion, cap­i­tal­ized via pri­vate dona­tions,” said Sean John­son, the school’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions spe­cial­ist and pro­duc­tion man­ager. “The build­ing and prop­erty are owned debt-free.” The planned Phase Two will add a stu­dent cafe­te­ria, an out­door school court­yard, and dor­mi­to­ries to ac­com­mo­date 60 stu­dents in dou­ble-oc­cu­pancy units on two lev­els. The dorms will be built on land that pre­vi­ously served as the Bor­ders park­ing lot. And a state-of-the-art per­form­ing arts cen­ter is slated for a third phase; the lat­ter two phases are planned pend­ing fu­ture fund­ing.

Look­ing into the front of the But­ler & Fo­ley build­ing in mid-Novem­ber, walls made of pen­tile (hol­low-tile blocks pro­duced at the old pen­i­ten­tiary at the lo­ca­tion of to­day’s Pen Road) were ev­i­dent. Pen­tile from de­con­structed walls else­where on the site is piled up be­hind the build­ing. There was a hope that it could be re­cy­cled. “We tried, but it’s so ex­pen­sive,” Osborn said. “It was my dream to re­use the pen­tile in the open­ing between Agua Fría and the cam­pus, where Radish & Rye is — that park­ing lot. There’s an open­ing where you used to be able to park and walk into Raaga. Now that those prop­er­ties are be­ing sep­a­rated, there is a con­cern for se­cu­rity and it was de­cided that we would want to po­ten­tially en­close the cam­pus.”

Ren­o­va­tions in But­ler & Fo­ley are be­ing made to ac­com­mo­date theater stu­dios and other aca­demics on the ground floor and dance stu­dios on the sec­ond floor. That el­e­vated space, which was not avail­able to pa­trons of Cost Plus World Mar­ket, boasts tall win­dows all along the south wall, of­fer­ing great light for the dancers — and they will also ap­pre­ci­ate the new Har­lequin sprung-floor sys­tem.

In back of this build­ing is a long barn-type struc­ture that once was used to store lum­ber and is be­ing pre­served. “They’ve talked about a num­ber of ideas for it,” John­son said. “One is to have a kiln, which we’ve never had.” In a dis­cus­sion about that long shed, Osborn said the 1908 and 1913 San­born fire in­sur­ance maps show wood-frame sheds around the whole perime­ter of the prop­erty. Most are la­beled “Lum­ber” on the maps, but a few in­di­cate that they were used to store “Mould­ing,” “Sash & Doors,” and “Baled Hay.”

Stu­dios for vis­ual arts and mu­sic will be lo­cated in the re­mod­eled San­busco and Bor­ders build­ings, re­spec­tively. The room be­hind the 1880 brick façade is planned as a stu­dent art gallery. Osborn said there will be “a good amount of glass” in the new walls, both in­side and out. Most other walls in­side will be prac­ti­cal gyp­sum. Ex­te­rior stucco will be an HDRB-ap­proved color: “Per­fect Greige” from Sherwin Wil­liams. On the But­ler & Fo­ley, which re­tains its “Con­tribut­ing” sta­tus, that color will be the top­coat of a tra­di­tional 3-coat plas­ter job.

Phase One is an­tic­i­pated to be com­pleted 16 months from the ground­break­ing that was held in late March of this year. Un­less some­thing goes se­ri­ously awry, school will be in ses­sion at the new site late next sum­mer. John­son em­pha­sized that the stu­dent body at the New Mex­ico School for the Arts hails from 29 com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing pueb­los, around the state. The pro­jected ini­tial en­roll­ment will be between 220 and 250, but NMSA plans to in­crease that to 400 stu­dents in the fu­ture.

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