UNM Physics and Astronomy Building Documentation Project

Audra Bellmore,

John Gaw Meem Curator

Katherine Conley, Contributor

Karanina Madden-Krall, Contributor
UNM School of Architecture and Planning
Historic Preservation & Regionalism Graduate Program
Spring 2021

Zohreh Mehrabi, Contributor

Physics and Astronomy Building, c. 1952. Photo by Al Vigil.

In 1951 the UNM Board of Regents notified architects Meem, Zehner, Holien, and Associates to complete drawings and specifications for the Physics and Meteoritics Buildings, which would later be classified as the Physics and Astronomy Building. According to "Only in New Mexico: An Architectural History of the University of New Mexico," the regents imposed a $10 "building fee" on the students to pay for a bond issue for construction of the new Physics and Meteoritics Building, as well as new Biology, Law, and Chemistry buildings.

Within 60 days the NPA approved construction of the Physics and Meteoritics Building, but with no promise of allotment of materials; building materials were in short supply at the time. With help from University President Popejoy, a $6 million grant would assist in the construction of six new buildings, including the Physics and Meteoritics Building. The building was completed in July, 1951, coinciding with the meeting of the American Physical Society at the University, with the dedication held during the meeting of the Meteoritics Society.

Narrative report is based on the requirements for the Historic American Buildings Survey short form guidelines.  See research guide for original and current HABS drawings; and historic and contemporary photographic images.