Last year while developing a panel on “The Myth of Santa Fe” for the Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit, I interviewed several elders from Santa Clara Pueblo about Santa Fe’s origins and what our collective future might look like. Several Santa Clara women spoke in earnest of the importance of making a place work for the good of its people. Their clarity and commitment made me realize that we are all being called to consider our place here and work to ensure positive progress for all. I started asking my peers what they thought New Mexico needed moving forward in design and preservation and what can we do to make our community work for all of us.
There are matters of gentrification and culture that are serious and deserve attention, as well as consideration for how preservation can intersect with modernity. There are excellent organizations and individuals exploring these issues that Southwest Contemporary hopes to feature in coming issues of The Magazine.
For this special issue on architecture and preservation, coinciding with national Architecture Month in April and Preservation Month in May, I wanted to look at the intersections of architecture, time, and place—all of which are changing as our community does. I also wanted to lift up the voices of women in design.
We ask Michaela Shirley and Geraldene Blackgoat—two Diné architects and planners—about current issues in, as well as the future of, Indigenous design. We learn that each woman is carving out a unique place in the architecture scene by considering and applying design principles to topics that matter deeply to each of them, their families, and Native communities.
The City of Santa Fe’s new historic preservation manager, Lisa Roach, offers us a glimpse into what it takes to lead one of the most exalted historic communities in the nation into a new conversation about historic preservation, sustainability, and community. Meanwhile, architect Beverley Spears looks to the past, examining how sixteenth-century conventos in Mexico not only spurred a ten-year journey to document scores of them but also how they relate to the design we all know and love here.
Architectural historian Sarah Rovang shares how her fellowship at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and Home helped her to identify how the legendary artist’s ideas about architecture and design evolved over the years and how she changed her Abiquiu home to accommodate them.
We also sit down with Taos’s famous artist and enjarradora, Anita Rodriguez, to find out why the annual re-mudding of historic adobe churches and homes matters and what it can teach us about community.
I interview architects, planners, preservationists, and designers to see where our pain points are and outline some thoughts about what is needed to move towards a sustainable future together. We are also privileged a look at the work of artist and UNM Architecture Professor Nora Wendl, whose works expand the perception of what architecture’s forms, practices, and histories are (and could be). Lastly, we take a look at St. John’s College’s armillary sphere, a tool for celestial navigation with a breathtaking design, the only one of its kind in the world.
I hope this issue inspires you to consider architecture more deeply and encourages a love of great design for yourself and your community.
All my best,
Rachel Preston Prinz
guest editor, The Magazine
Rachel Preston Prinz has worked in architecture and historic preservation for twenty-five years. She is the founding director of Archinia, a consultancy that works at the intersections of architecture, historic and cultural preservation, storytelling, filmmaking, and tourism. Rachel is going blind from macular degeneration.