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Final design for Vladem Contemporary museum approved

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This rendering shows the final design for the New Mexico Museum of Art Vladem Contemporary satellite museum planned on Guadalupe Street. (Courtesy NM Museum of Art)

SANTA FE — A revised design for the New Mexico Museum of Art’s planned new Vladem Contemporary museum has been approved by the State Historic Preservation Office, clearing the way for construction to begin on the $12.5 million project.

“This is a done deal,” said New Mexico Museum of Art spokesman Daniel Zillmann.

Vladem Contemporary will be housed in the former Halpin State Archives Building on Guadalupe Street at Montezuma Avenue.

The main difference between an earlier design by lead architect Devendra Contractor and the final design is a reduction in window space and the removal of perforated metal scrim that would have covered the window areas.

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An earlier design for the Vladem Contemporary art museum had raised opposition.

Although community members had raised objections that the design was for a structure too big and too modern, the Vladem Contemporary will still be two stories with a contemporary addition jutting out from the original structure along Guadalupe. A mural on the side of the building at 404 Montezuma Street that was painted in 1990, which some city residents had wanted to preserve, will still be eliminated.

In a statement, Contractor, principal of DNCA Architects, said, “The glazed openings of the addition have been reduced by half, and the remaining metal scrim is treated as a sculptural element at the North and South ends of the building.”

He further noted, “The design of the original territorial style warehouse is honored through the contrasting design and concrete finishes of the contemporary addition.”

One of the motivations for creating a new facility was the museum’s need for dedicated educational spaces, which are missing at its 100-year-old building on the Santa Fe Plaza. The Vladem Contemporary will have space where artmaking, classes, hands-on activities and performance-based arts can take place.

In a press release announcing the design’s approval, the New Mexico Museum of Art said that its $12.5 million Centennial Campaign has reached $12.15 million in gifts and pledges from more than 700 donors.

Groundbreaking is expected in 2020 and the grand opening is anticipated in 2021.

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