All issues of New Mexico Architecture—the official publication of the New Mexico Chapter of the American Institute for Architects, published bi-monthly between 1959 and 1991—are now available in the UNM Digital Repository!
Researchers in many fields, as well as curious observers, may be interested and amused by articles such as "A Bostonian Looks at Albuquerque." This article quotes a letter written by a visitor in 1906, originally discovered in the library archives, marveling that "Albuquerque had nearly 16 churches...some of them costing upwards of $20,000—while one even had a $5,000 pipe organ... The Albuquerque Public Library had 3,000 volumes..."
Proposed changes to the UNM landscape provoked controversy in the past as now, judging by "A Plan for U.N.M." (1962), wherein John Udy complains that "Large grassed areas belong to a moister climate than ours while the introduction of desert planting into the campus is antithetical to our tradition and to good sense. We have enough desert on the edge of town without bringing it into our midst. There is no joy in tramping through the cactus to class."
Strong opinions about architectural aesthetics abound in issues of New Mexico Architecture. Readers may find the debate about the design and subsequent redesign of the New Mexico Capitol particularly interesting. Revisions to John Gaw Meem's 1964 design of the Capitol inspired a scathing NMA editorial:
NMA also covered the anti-billboard movement of the 1960s; in "The Ugliness Around Us—Billboard Department," alongside a pointed cartoon and this photo of the result of billboard vigilantism, John Conron and Bainbridge Bunting criticized the proliferation of billboards in no uncertain terms:
"The obliteration of our "Land of Enchantment" continues. More and still more highway billboards sprout with each new season. Yet no improvement in visually appealing or even acceptable graphics is evident. The stark beauty of our arid lowlands is less and less visible to the tourist; soon billboards will obscure even the highest mountains. This wanton desecration must be stopped."
Even the advertisements contain interesting photographs of familiar buildings; Hunter-Hayes Elevator Company provided these photos of Bataan Memorial Methodist Hospital (now the decommissioned Lovelace Medical Center) on Gibson Boulevard, and an aerial view of the completed roundhouse in Santa Fe.
Browse New Mexico Architecture in the UNM Digital Repository!
Many thanks to Scholarly Communication Graduate Fellow Pamela Herrington for getting NMA online and providing research for this article!