Albuquerque, NM – On September 17-, New Mexico State University celebrated the grand opening of Pete V. Domenici Hall, a new state-of-the-art conference and teaching facility designed by Albuquerque-based Van H. Gilbert Architect (VHGA). VHGA, architect for NMSU’s award winning O’Donnell Hall and Skeen Hall, reconstructed the exterior of the 1950’s era Hershel Zohn Theatre and repurposed and expanded the interiors, transforming the structure into a new 40,000 square-foot hub for contemporary research and teaching. VGHA’s context sensitive design complements NMSU’s historic campus vernacular and successfully balances a deep sense of place with the latest pedagogical thinking and technologies.
Named after New Mexico’s longest-serving senator, Pete V. Domenici Hall plays a vital role on campus, housing some of the university’s more important programs, including The Pete V. Domenici Institute for Public Policy and space for NMSU’s College of Business, including offices for business graduate students and visiting researchers. VHGA also repurposed the adjacent Branson Library into a secure, temperature and humidity controlled archive for Senator Domenici’s collected papers.
NMSU President Garrey Carruthers, who is director of the Domenici Institute and a former dean of the College of Business, said the building’s significance is more than just high-tech bricks and mortar. “This building honors the legacy of Senator Domenici and all he’s contributed to New Mexico and to our university.”
“We are especially proud to have been the architects for the Pete V. Domenici Hall as the Senator has done so much for the State and its’ people,” said Van Gilbert, FAIA, who lead the design effort. “The building is a fitting tribute and a signature addition to the campus that reflects the university’s mission as a training ground for future leaders.”
The S.P. and Estelle Yates Theater, the building’s focal point, seats 240 and features live streaming technology for seamless integration with media in the classrooms. The building’s design represents the latest thinking on breaking down barriers between classrooms, circulation, and common areas that enable people to gather and discuss issues. It also features technology that enables remote online learning. The El Paso Electric Classroom, for example, includes video conferencing technology that makes it possible for students enrolled online to experience real-time learning with students attending in person.
Key to the architect’s design are the high-performance building principles that Senator Domenici championed in New Mexico, making the state a leader in sustainability and green energy. Toward this end, Pete V. Domenici Hall features high-efficiency HVAC systems as well as a total electrical upgrade. The new central atrium was designed to bring more daylight into the building and reduce the need for electric lighting during the day. At night the atrium shines like a beacon on campus.
In addition to Domenici Hall, other VHGA projects on the New Mexico State University campus include the O’Donnell College of Education, Skeen Hall-Center for Sustainable Arid Lands, and the current renovation and renovation and expansion of the Engineering Building.
VHGA’s other current higher educational projects of note includeJack Williamson Liberal Arts Building Renovation, Eastern New Mexico University in Portales , the new Geology Building and new Chemistry Building at New Mexico Tech in Socorro, and Phase II of VHGA’s Science and Math Learning Center at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque
About Van H. Gilbert Architect PC ( www.vhgarchitect.com)
Founded in 1976, Van H. Gilbert Architect PC (VHGA) is one of the region's leading architectural practices with an award-winning portfolio of academic, cultural and zoological projects. The firm provides planning, design, and interior design services with a focus on environmental sustainability