Wells Park Community Center

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Project Info: A major additions and renovation project to combine 3 separate buildings under one roof with a new main entrance.

Completed:  2006

Awards: Metal Architecture Magazine, 2007

              NAIOP Merit Award, 2007

Photography: Kirk Gittings

Project Description:

This project was for the design of a Building Addition and Remodel at an existing Community Center.   The existing center was housed in 3 separate buildings. A major component of the project was to combine all three buildings under one roof with a single main entry.  The building design alludes to the history of the neighborhood. A sawmill was located on the west side of the neighborhood and employed many of the area’s residents. Small farms and orchards also covered the landscape. A new entry cone/tower structure creates a landmark within the community and alludes to the old sawdust burner at the old sawmill in the neighborhood. The entry cone extends out to welcome residents to the center. The entry cone structure creates a prominent entry and resolves site orientation issues posed by the existing parking lot, and the arrangement of the existing buildings. It is reminiscent of the wood chip burner at the former sawmill and is constructed of railroad tee rails. Galvanizedmetal panels which were major building components in the 19 th Century sheath the new addition.  A new covered entry area provides an additional protected (shaded) activity area during the summer months when the facility is most heavily used. A new clerestory over the gymnasium brings in natural light. The one story existing buildings have a new stucco system which unifies the exterior building facades. Fruit trees are planted outside the main entrance in reference to the once upon a time orchards in the area.

 Upon entering the facility a large abstract ceramic tile mural greets the visitor. The ceramic tile design alludes to the Bosque, orchard, valley and mountains beyond.  Aniline dyed plywood ceiling panels set in a standard tee grid creates a palpable warmth andpersonable scale at the entry.  A new sitting area for seniors and parents to sit at opens out to the south, facing into the playground. The floors are dyed and polished concrete to provide a warm aesthetic and durable surface.  Inside the Gymnasium, clear sealed birch veneer plywood panels were installed over a new framing system. Above 11’-6” high, Tectum acoustic panels were installed to help control the noise. A community mural painted twelve years ago was protected during construction and kept in place.