Van H. Gilbert Architect PC

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Santa Fe Indian School Grades 7-12 - Classrooms, Dormitories, Food Service, and Student Life Facilities
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe Indian School is both a modern learning institution and a Pueblo village home for the school’s 900 students in grades 7-12. The students predominantly come from the Nineteen Northern New Mexico Pueblos. The campus master plan called for siting the campus on a north-south/east-west axis for harmony with the Native People’s reverence for the spiritual nature of the cardinal directions. This orientation also works as a sustainable design strategy, optimizing passive solar energy and natural lighting.

The massing and the proportion of the campus buildings reflect human scale, pueblo tradition, and pueblo structures with forms that emanate from the land. Academic buildings and dormitories are strategically placed on the site to form outdoor courtyards and to frame the sacred mountain peaks.

The school focuses on preparing the students for career challenges and opportunities with an equal emphasis on strengthening the cultural and spiritual aspects of the learners’ Native American Heritage. The classrooms, labs, arts, athletic, and recreational facilities are state-of-the-art and flexible for the future technology needs. The dormitories harken to the Pueblo Village tradition and provide a family-like experience. The dormitory consists of a girls and boys wing separated by a centralized living room, kitchen, and administrative area. The buildings are designed in a Pueblo Revival style and the three-levels achieve the height and massing that are appropriate to the tradition. A cultural learning space is within the dormitory.

Sustainable siting and design elements were incorporated throughout the complex and native building materials that recall the adobe building tradition of the Pueblos were used.

This project was a design/build with Flintco, Inc. VHGA served as the design architect and WH Pacific served as the executive architect.

  • Design Share Awards, Recognized Value Award 2008
  • NSBA High School Honor Award 2005
  • Featured in “Linking Architecture and Education: Sustainable Design for Learning Environments,” Anne Taylor, PhD, UNM Press, 2009