Van H. Gilbert Architect PC

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Skeen Hall / Center for Sustainable Development of Arid Lands
New Mexico State University, Las Cruces

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Organ Mountains, the contemporary design of the Center is deeply evocative of the early Mission Style architecture found throughout the State. The prominent use of stucco, clay roof tile and other indigenous materials assures that the building is in harmony with the campus design context. The Building is comprised of three distinct volumes, including: a central octagonal form capped by a symbolic, updated “bell tower,” which houses the entrance lobby and offices, and two rectangular wings to accommodate laboratory space and offices/seminar rooms, respectively..

The 90,000 sf educational and advanced research facility is devoted to the study of sustainable agriculture in New Mexico and other arid regions of the world. The program and site plan were informed by input from the three on-site charrettes each with 20-30 participants from multiple user groups. The Center was designed to encourage interdisciplinary interactions for research, and features flexible teaching spaces to accommodate future technologies. Program elements include: research and teaching facilities for the USDA-ARS Jornada Experimental Range; a remote sensing/geographic information laboratory; a plant genetic engineering laboratory; an electron microscope facility; and an isolation greenhouse designed as a BSL3 clean room environment, as well as staff offices and multi-purpose seminar rooms.

Van H. Gilbert Architect PC worked in association with Shepley Bulfinch of Boston.

  • Outstanding Public Project, Best of New Mexico 2000, Southwest Contractor Magazine