Curated for and Published as the April 2020 Issue of Southwest Contemporary / The Magazine.

Rachel beside a canvas that says Love

The world today is different than I anticipated when I started scheduling projects, talks, and articles for this year. Like you, I am learning how to navigate this new normal. And like you, I hope... I'm thinking long and hard about what makes for a great "home" - whether that be our personal space or our communities.

I am feeling more committed than ever to helping New Mexico communities make positive change in architecture and design.

So I offer you this as inspiration!

The Magazine: Architecture Issue

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 of the 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 own places. and work to ensure positive progress for all.

With that inspiration, I teamed up with my friend Lauren Tresp at The Magazine by Southwest Contemporary to curate this special issue on architecture and preservation, coinciding with national #ArchitectureMonth in April and #PreservationMonth in May. I wanted to look at the intersections of architecture, time, and place—all of which are changing as our community does. Especially now... with the Coronavirus pandemic... which we did NOT see coming when we put this issue together! But, real sustainability is more important than ever, now! 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 interior view of a contemporary hogan. Photo: National Park Trips Media.

Lisa Roach, the City of Santa Fe’s historic preservation manager, 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.

Santa Fe modern, Rosario Chapel Garden, 2019. Courtesy Rachel Preston Prinz.

I interview Architect Beverley Spears as she 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 know and love here.

Beverley Spears, Actopan convento refectory, Actopan, Hidalgo, Mexico, 2012.

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 time, and how she changed her Abiquiu home to accommodate.

Krysta Jabczenski, Georgia O’Keeffe Abiquiu Home and Studio, Sitting Room, 2019. Copyright Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

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.

Anita Rodriguez, original illustration by Ella Trujillo, 2020.

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.

Textures and Imperfections Make Santa Fe Beautiful, 2019. Courtesy Rachel Preston Prinz.

We are privileged to take 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).

Nora Wendl, I Listened (58:15-58:40), 2017, digital print on glass.

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.

David Harber, Armillary Sphere, 2019, steel. Photo: David Harber.

I hope this issue inspires you to consider architecture more deeply and encourages your love of great design in New Mexico and beyond!!

Please stay healthy, stay safe.

Let's get through this, so we can work together to make things better for all of us!

All my best,
Rachel Preston Prinz