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NMHU Historic McCaffrey 
Trolley Building



NM Highlands University


Las Vegas, NM




21,500 SF


The state’s top honor for contemporary architecture
2019-Jeff Harnar Award
AIA New Mexico Design Award
2017-Honor Award
AIA Albuquerque  – Architectural Design Award
2017-Honor Award
State of New Mexico – Heritage Preservation Award
2017-Architectural Heritage  Award

The historic Las Vegas Trolley Barn is the new home to the New Mexico Highlands University Department of Media Arts & Technology. The 105-year-old sandstone building originally served as the headquarters for the town's trolley system but had fallen into disrepair as the trolley was abandoned for the automobile. The once impressive building had been reduced to only its stone walls by the effects of nature. Working closely with the NM Historic Preservation Division, the architects developed a concept that would honor the history of the building but also look to the future. The new addition, required by the program area, is designed to wrap around the rear of the structure and preserve the primary Trolley Barn facades.

The juxtaposition of the high-tech program and the Romanesque Revival shell offered many unique design opportunities. The effort to preserve this important landmark are visible in the details of the project. An existing overhead hoist was re-purposed as the base to the facility’s new conference table. The trolley rails were recreated in the polished concrete floors. As a didactic code, all the existing structural steel was freshly painted to match the orange primer found on it, and the new structure was painted dark gray to recede. Other elements, such as a historic steel barn door, remain in place as a nod to the structure's past. Engaging the larger community was another goal of the project. A large laser cut map of Las Vegas greets students and guests at the main entry. A large projection screen, integrated into the eastern facade, allows for outdoor film screening and campus-wide events.

The project has received LEED Silver Certification.







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