Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Visual Arts Center

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Institution Name: College of Santa Fe
Original/Historic Place Name: Visual Arts Center
Location on Campus: End of Main Dr.
Date(s) of Construction:
1998original construction Legorreta Arquitectos
Designer: Legorreta Arquitectos
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Contemporary (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: concrete slab
Walls: stucco over metal frame
Roof: membrane
1998-present (2006)academic department building (art history, studio, and the Santa Fe Art Institute)

Designed by renowned Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, the Visual Arts Center is the first large institutional work of architecture to depart from Santa Fe's pervasive Pueblo Style. Hailed as one of the best educational designs in America, the Visual Arts Center is home to state-of-the-art darkrooms, important rare book collections, a sensitively day-lit gallery, living quarters, and studios.

Conceived as a series of cloisters, the Visual Arts Center simultaneously pays homage to ecclesiastical and Hispanic architecture. Latin American Baroque Church references are enhanced by minimalist detailing and a profusion of color that accentuates the rich, clear, bright desert light.

The Visual Arts Center accommodates the college;s undergraduate art history and studio departments and the Santa Fe Art Institute, an independent foundation that invites prominent artists for short-term residencies.


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Last update: November 2006