Vladem Contemporary Construction Begins This Week
The 20,000-square-foot brick-and-steel Halpin Building from 1936 will remain, with a 15,000-square-foot second level added on top, at an angle askew from the original building. The old building aligns with the original Chili Line railroad tracks alongside the future museum, and the addition will align with Guadalupe Street , said Jamie Clements , CEO of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation .
The foundation and New Mexico Museum of Art on Tuesday jointly announced the construction start, with work to begin as soon as final permits are secured.
The foundation raised $10.5 million in private donations that will be coupled with $6 million in state funding for the $16.5 million project that is expected to be completed in 18 months, Clements said in an interview.
The construction cost itself is $14.1 million with the balance including architecture and engineering.
The foundation share was part of its $12.5 million Centennial Campaign launched in 2017.
Vladem Contemporary will service as a second location for the New Mexico Museum of Art , focusing on contemporary works. Santa Fe residents Bob and Ellen Vladem contributed $4 million — the largest donation to the foundation — for perpetual naming rights to the new museum.
The museum has dubbed the expansion "one museum, two locations."
In late 2018, construction was expected to start in summer 2019 with an opening at the end of 2020.
The museum and foundation were slowed by the project review process through the city Historic Districts Review Board , New Mexico Historic Preservation Division and public input. The process urged downplaying some of the modern elements.
Revisions by architecture firms DNCA of Santa Fe and Studio GP of Albuquerque made exterior changes to a design that originally had a metal scrim on all four sides but now has the metal only on the north and south sides.
"We have a building fully compatible with the historic district and the Railyard," Clements said.
Clements said he could not address the Gilberto Guzman 40-year-old mural titled Multi-Cultural that many locals decried losing. A news release stated the mural "will be retired as a part of the renovation, and the museum plans to acknowledge the mural and its history with a display in the interior." Museum Executive Director Mark A. White did not immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment.
Bradbury Stamm Construction of Albuquerque is the general contractor.
The 3,967-square-foot main gallery on the ground floor will have a ceiling height of 16 feet, 9 inches, ideal for oversized contemporary art. The loading dock area was specifically designed to make it easy to get large art from a truck into the gallery — and also to the elevator to the second level, former museum director Mary Kershaw told The New Mexican in 2018.
The new second level will have a smaller 3,150-square-foot space with a 14-foot-6 ceiling. The second level will also have the Museum of Art's first dedicated artist studio for an artist or artist collective in residency.
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