Magazine article Sunset

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Magazine article Sunset

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Article excerpt

BEST MODERN PUBLIC ARCHITECTURE

Think of Santa Fe, and your mind's eye renders the image in sepia. By both tradition and design review in the historic districts, adobe and faux-adobe walls all wear the color of bare earth. There's something to be said for it, as no other North American city grows from its landscape with such an organic sense of place.

But when Mexico City architect Ricardo Legorreta won the commission to design the new Visual Arts Center for the College of Santa Fe, he found inspiration in all the other colors of nature surrounding the brown town: the high-desert sky, the brilliant sunsets, the mountain flowers. Instead of growing out of the earth, this building drops in from the sky.

The color scheme didn't take the college by surprise; Legorreta's international reputation is built on his audacious palette. He doesn't use it to startle or provoke, rather to provide unexpected pleasures. A courtyard, painted a stunning cobalt blue, virtually melts into the sky at certain times of day; it's like a room bounded in two dimensions and infinite in the third. …

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