Project File: Pueblo design

The Santa Fe Indian School is a $38.5 million project for New Mexico's 19 Indian pueblos. It serves as the destination school for 700 top pueblo students whose studies include learning about pueblo architecture, culture and tradition in order for them to return and influence the future of their home pueblos.

The 213,000-square-foot school and residence-hall complex is built on 115.5 acres of sovereign Indian land in Santa Fe.

Pueblo elders and tribal members were consulted for cultural considerations in the school's design, such as using extra-thick walls with the customary pueblo-style batter (slight slope), installing curved fireplaces, creating heart rooms (traditional circular kiva gathering rooms with exposed adobe), installing viga and latilla ceilings, designing numerous exterior porticos in the three-story buildings and spreading the buildings around several plazas.

The Santa Fe Indian School Board selected a committee to undergo training in construction techniques, such as design-build. Steel-stud frame construction covered with stucco gives the look of adobe for all the classroom buildings, residence halls, a student-life center, gymnasium and outdoor athletic complex, and a science and technology building.

The design architect is Van H. Gilbert, Architect PC (Albuquerque), and the architect of record is ASC, Inc. (Albuquerque).

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