Perspective

We can't believe that Baker A+D is turning 15 years old... Looking back since the beginning, we have certainly grown as a firm and business, but without a doubt, our principles of design have remained firmly grounded in the ideas of user-driven, local design. With most of our projects specializing in education these days, it seems especially important to remember that the design of architecture is bound to affect the cultivation of these growing and young minds.

It was nearly 10 years ago that we reflected on Le Corbusier and his famous words "a house is a machine for living in," and couldn't fathom the idea of living in a machine let alone eating in one. Here we are again, but with a deeper delicacy when confronting the idea that students might be going to a school that is "a machine for learning." Now that's pretty frightening. That's why it is especially important for us (and everyone!) to always be thinking about the user experience: in this case, the kids first and foremost. Creativity is at the core of design, and the creativity should strive to generate space that enables further creativity and thought.

Some would say that we are Corbu copycats using his popular modern style and his famed 5 Points of Architecture. But as T.S. Eliot once said, "Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different." Now we can't say that our design is better than the legendary Corbu, but we are definitely making something different. This is no machine. And definitely not a machine for harvesting kids. This is no Le Corbusier, ladies and gentlemen... this is Le Baker Architecture and Design!


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In the beginning stages of construction, The Ernie Pyle Middle School Sixth Grade Building is starting to take shape. What started with the installation of fifty-eight auger cast piles has quickly moved on to steel and concrete block erection, framing and HVAC installation. The recent erection of the second floor steel has made evident the presence the final project will have within the campus and the greater neighborhood. The project addresses many of today's educational design challenges regarding light, sound, comfort and student interaction.

The design takes into account the overall campus circulation and raises all the general classroom space up on pilotis allowing for movement across the site and direct access to the existing basketball courts and the main play field. Incorporated into this exterior circulation space is a concrete pyramid which acts as an outdoor teaching area and gathering space for students as well as the western access point to the second floor classrooms. A big part of the design was the incorporation of solar, both passive and active. Photovoltaic panels are incorporated into the facade as part of a shade awning which controls the natural day light entering the second floor classrooms. The central corridor, which will also be used for displaying student work, features a large light monitor which runs the length of the building and brings natural light into the space. The project is scheduled to reach LEED Silver Certification and will be completed in February of 2016.
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Baker A+D is excitedly awaiting the start of construction on this unique project. The 100 year old stone Trolley Barn, located on the NMHU main campus in Las Vegas, NM, is set to be the new home of the University's Media Arts Program. Built in 1905, this historic structure represents a time of prosperity in Las Vegas history that was ushered in with the arrival of the railroads. Added to the State Register in 1976 and the National Historic Register in 1984, Baker A+D's goal was to celebrate the history of the site through the juxtaposition of modern and historic materials. The main material is a rusted steel panel which will distinguish the addition from the historic remodel.

This complex program includes state of the art studio spaces, offices, gallery space and a 91 seat lecture hall. The interior will feature exposed stone walls, polished concrete floors and exposed steel structure. Some other custom elements include a laser cut steel map of Las Vegas, a preserved steel barn door and an exterior projection screen integrated into the facade for outdoor teaching and community events. Baker A+D is also working closely with the University to select all the furniture and textiles which will complete this modern interior.

This project was a new challenge for Baker A+D but has proved to be a successful endeavor. The remote location, site constraints and historic regulations were all issues that the design team willingly took on and have successfully navigated to provide NMHU with a modern, technologically advanced new media arts building.
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CNM is coming to downtown Albuquerque and Baker A+D has been involved in everything from branding and graphics to interior design and furniture selection. This will be the third off-campus development for CNM and the curriculum is based around technology driven careers. The Center will offer everything from a coding bootcamp to prototyping classes and business incubators for young entrepreneurs.

The design draws directly from the curriculum by incorporating elements developed through modern fabrication techniques and by juxtaposing finished and raw materials. The program includes classroom and lecture spaces, meeting rooms, a communal break space, 3D print lab, coding salon and office space. The interior colors and textile selections identify with the known CNM brand while still promoting a new and modern learning environment independent of the main campus. The center is set to open September 5, 2014.
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KANW is under construction and the steel and concrete block erection is well underway. The project includes the addition and remodel of the existing radio station headquarters located on Coal Avenue. Portions of the existing building are being remodeled including the entry, reception, store and toilet rooms. A second floor is being added which will include offices and a vocational classroom for high school students.

The new addition includes steel frame and light gauge framing, a new elevator shaft and new stairs to the second floor. Other primary construction materials include stucco, storefront windows, roofing, insulation, polished concrete, gypsum board, architectural steel fabrication, carpet tile, porcelain tile and casework. Baker A+D is looking forward to continuing to work with APS on this exciting project.
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Albuquerque Public Schools and Baker Architecture + Design are working together again, this time on a middle school classroom building in the south valley. Ernie Pyle Middle School's current 6th grade building is in disrepair and out-dated, not at all a suitable learning facility for middle schoolers. The new building, however, will meet LEED for Schools Silver standards, at minimum, and improve the flow and quality of the campus.

One of the key driving forces behind the design was to connect two outdoor spaces: the campus basketball courts and their large grassy play-field. To achieve this, much of the program will be placed on the second floor above a field of columns. In the space beneath the second floor we have designed an outdoor teaching area, with bleachers that can be a gathering space for students outside of class time as well. There are large light monitors throughout the building to incorporate natural light, and the use of solar power is even being discussed as a possibility.

This project provides a lot of exciting opportunities for Baker A+D. Not only is it our first middle school, but also our first two-story school building. We have just entered the design development phase and look forward to working with APS to give the students of Ernie Pyle Middle School a great new building in which to learn.
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Baker Architecture + Design is excited to be working on their first technical project: the renovation and addition to KANW Radio Station Headquarters. This Albuquerque Public Schools project has been a great learning experience through the design process, and promises to be a great finished product.

The original KANW building, near CNM on Coal Avenue, is a hexagonal brick structure designed in 1969, with little to no changes since. Since its beginning, the radio station has grown and even works with APS to provide tours and vocational training to high school students. Due to this growth, the current space is cramped and becoming inadequate. We have worked closely with the manager, Michael Brasher, and APS to design a larger, more modern space to accommodate KANW's needs and give them more of a presence along Coal Avenue.

Not wanting to neglect KANW's origins, the eastern half of the existing building will remain and the western module will mostly be remodeled, leaving the majority of the existing shell intact. However, an entirely new second floor will be added, housing new offices and a large multi-use space. This space will be used as a vocational classroom for high school students, a center of operations for pledge drives and even a secondary studio for special broadcasts. The western half of the existing building, which currently houses the music store, storage and an office or two, will be opened up to provide better access. Only the merchandise and restrooms will occupy this remodeled area, supplying improved visibility and more room to display and operate the store.

With the bidding process just beginning, construction on KANW should start early November. Baker Architecture + Design looks forward to working with the owner and contractor through this process to bring the paper drawings to life on the streets of Albuquerque.
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Frozen yogurt stores have become a specialty of Baker Architecture + Design, with CherryTree Yogurt in New York and Olo Yogurt Studio here in Albuquerque. Now Baker A+D is adding another frozen yogurt store to its portfolio, helping Olo to expand into the west area of Albuquerque and reach out to more yogurt lovers.

With the original Olo venue in Nob Hill, Baker A+D worked to develop the brand identity and aesthetic that have become well-known in Albuquerque. The establishment has taken off and led the management to open another location, bringing the diverse tastes of Olo Yogurt Studio to the west side. Many of the design aspects from the first location will be manifest in the new Ventana Ranch store, which is slightly larger and currently well under construction.

With a grand opening expected in April of 2013, Olo - Ventana Ranch will display the vibrant colors seen in Nob Hill with a similar undulating ceiling pattern, drawing customers back to the yogurt machines. The new locale offers an opportunity to provide even more of the custom flavors that Olo is known for. Baker A+D is thrilled to play a part in this venture, bringing a new hot spot to Albuquerque's novelty food scene and making Olo Yogurt Studio more accessible to those on the west side.
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The El Rey Theater is finally getting some much-needed attention, with a change of management and a brand new game plan.

Originally the occupancy for El Rey was about 700 people, preventing the theater from attracting large enough acts to turn the profit needed for necessary maintenance. However, after life safety and toilet room upgrades, this Albuquerque landmark will be able to hold upwards of 1300 people and play host to a variety of different shows. Not only will the El Rey hold performances ranging from hip hop and Mexican music to comedy routines, but it will also be open as a dance club when a show is not booked.

In order to breathe new life into this historic building, Baker A+D is making a number of modifications to the interior space. The greatest of these changes is the addition of much larger toilet rooms to serve the dance floor, significantly increasing the capacity of the El Rey. The dance floor itself will also be renovated, eliminating the previous differences in elevation to make one large, open space for dancing. Another adjustment to the theater is a spacious new bar to serve the social level, making it possible to get a drink while still watching the shows. Improvements to the circulation and balcony will also make the El Rey a much more enjoyable and safe place to be.
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Barcelona Elementary School’s new classroom building has received a LEED for Schools Gold rating by the U.S. Green Building Council, the first such distinction in New Mexico.

The LEED for Schools rating system, a specific program targeted for education, includes not just sustainable and cost saving energy features, but also environment quality and a connection to the school’s academics. “It’s not just using green building materials and systems, but rather it’s a fully integrated green philosophy,” said Karen Alarid. “ LEED for Schools is not solely about energy savings; it places heavy focus on acoustics, air quality, natural light and views – all to enhance the learning environment.”

Unique green features in the Barcelona Elementary School building include a recycling collection room; insulation made of recycled blue jeans; and numerous skylights and windows that save energy on
electric lighting and provide a direct line of sight out a window from almost any location in the classroom. The dual flush toilets, waterless urinals, and low flow sensor faucets in the rest rooms save 26,000 gallons of water per year compared to conventional fixtures – enough to fill a bathtub over 1,000 times. Water is also saved in the planters around the building that have no irrigation system. Rather, a special gel in the soil is liquefied over time by the microscopic fauna living in the dirt. The plants need to be watered only in their first year while their root systems are being established, but thereafter are self-sufficient. In addition, all building materials were purchased from within a 500 mile radius from the school to minimize the impacts of transportation on the environment.

With an estimated energy savings of 30% as compared to traditional design and construction, this project exemplifies a commitment to the environment as well as a keen interest in reducing operational costs for years to come. “Both Baker Architecture + Design and the LEED consultant, Mike Halcom, LEED AP, were ingenious in the design and creation of this truly original school building,” said Alarid “I credit their attention to every detail in earning a LEED for Schools Gold rating in their goal of creating a quality learning environment for the students of Barcelona Elementary School.”

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Baker Architecture + Design provides full architectural services with a concentration on developing creative modern solutions utilizing contemporary materials and technologies appropriate to the climate and indigenous architecture of New Mexico. Read More »

News

Trolley Barn and Ernie Pyle Receives another Honor After enduring for 105 years, the old sandstone building in Las Vegas, NM, receives an uplifting remodel. Whilst retaining the historic facades and reusing much of the steel components of the building structure, the Department of Media arts & Technology was given new form. The juxtaposition between the new and… Read More »

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