Trendy marvels: Albuquerque nonprofit is devoted to selling, preserving and instructing modernist structure in New Mexico


Complete Hog Café, 725 Central NE, is one other instance of Googie structure. It was a Denny’s diner when it made its Albuquerque debut in 1964. (Courtesy of Thea Haver)

In June 2014, after arriving in Albuquerque from her house state of Maryland, Thea Haver was driving west on Central Avenue, previous Route 66, feeling considerably self-conscious in her vivid blue Saturn Ion, a automobile she thought of unworthy of the storied Mom Street, when she was startled to see a tall constructing at Central and San Mateo.

“I used to be slightly confused by this tower with little else so tall round it,” Haver bright spotrecalled lately.

The looming construction that took her off guard was the 17-story, previous First Nationwide Financial institution Constructing East, recognized immediately by many Albuquerque residents because the Financial institution of the West Tower.

Haver had extra surprises ready as she continued west.

Trendy Albuquerque’s emblem is impressed by an illuminated yucca that stood atop the Kistler-Collister division retailer, now Ace {Hardware}, through the Christmas holidays. (Courtesy Trendy Albuquerque)

“I drove by the Highland Enterprise District, which I now name house and acknowledge as an unimaginable pocket of midcentury modernist structure,” she stated. “I noticed the round Financial institution of Albuquerque, Traditional Century Sq. and Loyola’s. It was eye-opening. The variety of individuals, tradition and structure was greater than I anticipated.”

Straightforward rider

4 years after that drive west on Central, Haver and her husband, Ethan Aronson, whom she met after shifting to Albuquerque, based Trendy Albuquerque, a nonprofit group devoted to selling, preserving and instructing the general public about modernist structure and artwork in Albuquerque and New Mexico.

Loyola’s Household Restaurant, 4500 Central SE, opened as Sherm’s in 1958. It’s an instance of a Southern California futuristic design sort referred to as Googie, named for a Hollywood coffeehouse. (Courtesy Thea Haver)

Final week, Trendy Albuquerque launched an internet site,, that allows folks to tour modernist, or midcentury, buildings as Haver did just a few years again, solely by laptop slightly than in a Saturn Ion.

The web site affords a breath of open highway to these confined to their properties due to the COVID-19 disaster.

“It’s designed to be a rabbit gap of knowledge,” Haver stated.

You’ll find on the web site 12 buildings that make up a “Should-See Modernism” listing, together with a number of that caught Haver’s consideration on that preliminary drive in 2014,

Printable coloring pages from Trendy Albuquerque will be discovered on its web site, First Nationwide Financial institution Tower East. (Courtesy of Trendy Albuquerque)

but additionally Ace {Hardware}, previously the Kistler-Collister division retailer, 1100 San Mateo NE; Summit Development, 900 Hazeldine SE; and the Simms Constructing, 400 Gold SW.

Click on on these websites, and also you’ll get an image of the constructing, the date of its building, the architect or architectural agency that designed it and a few particulars about its historical past and design options.

“The extra we study a constructing, the extra we study concerning the intent of the architect,” Haver stated.

Kind and performance

Haver stated modernist or midcentury structure dates from 1945 to 1975, “from post-World Struggle II to pre-‘Star Wars.’ ”

“Modernism is a set of (architectural) ideas; it’s type following perform,” Haver stated. “You drive by Loyola’s (Household Restaurant, 4500 Central SE), you look within the window and also you desire a completely satisfied meal.”

Loyola’s, which opened as Sherm’s in 1958, and the Complete Hog Café, 725 Central NE, constructed as a Denny’s diner in 1964, are examples of Googie structure, named for a Hollywood espresso store. Born in Southern California, Googie structure usually contains design components equivalent to upswept roofs; curvy, geometric shapes; and brazen use of glass, metal and neon.

Summit Development, 900 Hazeldine SE, was George Rutherford Development when it opened in 1964. Architect Don Stevens’ design features a concrete sunscreen. (Courtesy Brady Lavigne)

Whereas midcentury structure generally entails dramatic components, it doesn’t usually characteristic exterior ornamentation.

“They’re buildings doing a job,” Haver stated. “And modernism is honesty in supplies. The Simms Constructing is made up of numerous glass and calls consideration to that.”

Since January 2019, Trendy Albuquerque has added 57 modernist buildings to an earlier metropolis stock to carry the entire of midcentury buildings in Albuquerque to 366. Up to now.

“We’ve been on the market driving round, wanting round,” Haver stated. “The analysis by no means ends. And we’ve began so as to add buildings (constructed) after 1975, as a result of there are nonetheless architects doing modernist design. By itemizing these, we get a jump-start on preservation.”

Not forgotten

Preservation is vital, as a result of vital midcentury buildings have been misplaced in Albuquerque.

The web site’s “Misplaced Structure” part contains the Elks Lodge, inbuilt 1963, demolished in 2019; the White Winrock Resort, inbuilt 1962, demolished in 2012; the Commerce Winds Motor Resort, inbuilt 1958, demolished in 2009; and the Albuquerque Civic Auditorium, inbuilt 1957, demolished in 1986.

Ace {Hardware}, 1100 San Mateo NE, began out as Kistler-Collister division retailer in 1962. The constructing has been transformed however nonetheless has its unique entrance cover and precast concrete panels with a diamond-relief sample. (Courtesy of Jessica Roybal)

From the web site, you may get to Trendy Albuquerque’s three-part, 35-minute video presentation “The Albuquerque Civic Auditorium: An Architectural Story.”

“The Albuquerque Civic Auditorium is the deepest and most resounding loss,” Haver stated. “Consider all of the (music, sporting, different) occasions that occurred there. Usually we don’t take note of the buildings we expertise. We don’t take note of the house. We take them as a right till they’re gone.”

Haver stated the Civic Auditorium had been struggling financially and was the sufferer of vandals. The Commerce Winds Motor Resort was torn down as a result of it was a “nuisance property.”

“There have been so many Route 66 motels that fell into disrepair after I-40 went in,” Haver stated. “It’s arduous to prioritize structure over the protection and well-being of the neighborhood.”

Orange at sundown

One other characteristic of the web site is “Coloring Pages,” which permits web site guests to obtain and print out footage of midcentury Albuquerque buildings and colour them.

One of many buildings accessible for creative embellishment is the First Nationwide Financial institution Constructing East, the hovering large that first caught Haver’s consideration in 2014.

When accomplished in 1963, the 17-story financial institution constructing was the tallest in New Mexico. It’s the fifth-tallest within the state immediately and the tallest exterior Downtown Albuquerque.

“Its white tower mirrored the desert solar, and its gold tiles modified colour, relying on the time of day,” Haver stated. “They have been golden orange at sundown.”

Haver, 35, moved to Albuquerque to take a job on the Nationwide Museum of Nuclear Science & Historical past and is now in enterprise for herself as a artistic marketing consultant for museums and sights. She considers herself a museum particular person.

She stated she got here by her love of structure from a maternal grandmother she by no means knew.

Traditional Century Sq., 4616 Central SE, opened in 1957 as White’s Division Retailer. Designed by architect Max Flatow, the constructing contains a glass curtain wall alongside its complete north facet. (Courtesy of Thea Haver)

“She drove her children round Dallas to take a look at buildings,” Haver stated. “My mother thought that’s what you probably did. So she drove me round (Maryland) taking a look at buildings.”

And that’s what Haver and Trendy Albuquerque try to do for folks immediately with their web site.

However even in these self-isolating instances, it’s potential for folks to occur upon modernist gems whereas driving for groceries or to choose up prescriptions. You simply want be looking out.

“If we’ve any affect in any respect,” Haver stated, “we hope that when individuals are sitting at a stoplight, they appear to the left and proper and take note of the buildings they’re seeing.”


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