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University of New Mexico - Main Campus

La Posada Dining Hall

Albuquerque, NM


The project included a complete renovation of an outdated food service facility into a dynamic, modern new facility. La Posada is the main dining facility for students living on campus at the University of New Mexico and is open 24/7. The project involved updates to the interior to lighten, soften and better organize the space. The orientation and layout of the building lended itself naturally to a new entrance established at the southwest of the building. This location makes it a natural gathering space for student living, dining and social/assembly activities. The entrance and new canopy helped revitalize the building as well as act as a sunshade and light shelf to help brighten and evenly distribute the internal lighting of the facility.

This project was the renovation of a mid-century building in need of many systems upgrades for code issues and energy consumption and much needed updates to the functionality, materiality and programming of the building. There were many needs to fill within that went beyond the budget. We worked closely with PDC and the multiple user groups to explore and balance the scope to provide the best value with the greatest impact. To track costs and maximize the limited renovation funds, V&A maintained an ongoing Scope Matrix with the overall desired scope broken into TEN discrete sections, with each individual section noting varying levels of work, from basic to extensive. The stakeholders were able to use this as a “menu” of scope options to help move the project forward. Ultimately, the majority items were implemented, which resulted in an award winning project.

The existing building was harsh and lacking in natural lighting. The design motif for the renovation thus became a “curvilinear intervention” of inviting forms carried out through bright and contemporary colors and materials, combined with maximizing daylighting to soften the brutalist edges and make an engaging space. The programmatic challenge of the renovation was to rethink the outdated cafeteria notion of the original design. A linear, back-of-house cafeteria serving line was opened up and supplemented with several food platforms throughout the dining spaces, including the “Chef Innovation Theatre”, incorporating demonstrative cooking for the students, serving a variety of healthy and natural options in addition to more
customary offerings.

The project was exciting, beautiful and very successful. It was completed on time and below budget. The owners were very happy and the project was awarded the 2017 AIA Architectural Design Awards “Honor Award-Interior Architecture”

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